What is a “Rule 31 Mediator”?
Rule 31 refers to the Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31, which governs mediations. Mediators who meet the requirements specified by Rule 31 can apply to be listed as qualified Mediators per Rule 31. While anyone can be a mediator, Mediators who are listed as “Rule 31 Mediators” have met the requirements of this rule and have been approved to perform court-ordered Mediation. In other words, if you are involved in a legal dispute and the court orders a mediation, you can only schedule with a mediator who is listed as a “Rule 31” mediator. If you are seeking mediation outside the court system, you can choose any mediator, Rule 31 listed or not.
What has Changed?
For mediators who are listed, be aware that the rules have recently changed. Perhaps most relevant is that Rule 31 mediators must now renew annually and rule 31A covering alterative dispute resolutions require a lawyer or a judge to serve as the neutral. For more information, see this article on tncourts.gov. To see the marked up version of Rule 31 including the addition of Rule 31A, click here.
Most revisions go into effect November 1, 2018. The change to remove inactive status goes into effect November 1, 2019, giving mediators currently on inactive status time to reactivate before the change to eliminate inactive status goes into effect.