Writing Memoranda of Understanding:
IMA Guidelines for CPM Applicants
1. As part of your CPM application IMA requires that you write and submit two
Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs):
[These are also called Memoranda of Agreement or Mediation Agreements.]
a. (1) A short, one-page MOU and (2) a long, three- or four-page Memorandum of
b. Use a minimum of seven clauses in your short MOU and a minimum of 20
clauses in your long MOU.
c. Include at least one future clause in each of your MOUs. [See # 3 below for more
information about future clauses.]
2. The purpose of these MOUs is to provide IMA with examples of the type of writing
required of professional mediators. You may base your MOU’s on any of the following:
a. A simulated Memorandum of Understanding.
i. The simulation may be derived from your mediation case practice, cases
of have read about, a combination or synthesis of several cases, or simply
from your imagination.
b. A neutralized Memorandum of Understanding from your mediation case
i. A neutralized MOU changes names, and perhaps some data, in order to
protect the anonymity of the disputants.
ii. You may change the language in your original MOU, or add or delete
3. IMA reviewers will be guided in their evaluation of your MOUs by the information on
writing mediation agreements found on pages 165 through 172 in the 2005 edition of
the McCorkle and Reese textbook Mediation Theory and Practice, published by Pearson.
McCorkle and Reese recommend the following guidelines for writing mediation
a. Agreements use direct and straightforward wording.
For example, using words such as “will,” “will not,” and “shall” rather than
words like “could,” “should,” or “may.”
b. Agreements are clear, so that all the parties know, specifically, what they are
expected to do and when they are expected to do it.
c. Agreements are generally written in positive language, focusing on what parties
will do rather than what they will not do.
d. Agreements are impartial, so that neither party is portrayed as either a bad
person or a good person.
e. Agreements describe specific, measurable behavior, while taking into account
the amount of detail that both parties feel comfortable with.
f. In most situations the mediator will make use of the disputants own words and
language in constructing the agreement.
g. Future Clauses: Many mediation agreements will include a future clause
addressing how the parties will communicate with one another in the future,
and/or a future clause addressing how they will handle problems with other
issues or the mediated agreement in the future.