Job Description:

An ombudsman helps resolve conflicts outside of the court system.

Job Category:
Professional Services

What you will do:

Your day-to-day will include tasks such as:

  • Prepare settlement agreements for disputants to sign.
  • Conduct studies of appeals procedures to ensure adherence to legal requirements or to facilitate disposition of cases.
  • Confer with disputants to clarify issues, identify underlying concerns, and develop an understanding of their respective needs and interests.
  • Authorize payment of valid claims.
  • Set up appointments for parties to meet for mediation.
  • Research laws, regulations, policies, or precedent decisions to prepare for hearings.
  • Evaluate information from documents such as claim applications, birth or death certificates, or physician or employer records.
  • Conduct initial meetings with disputants to outline the arbitration process, settle procedural matters such as fees, or determine details such as witness numbers or time requirements.
  • Prepare written opinions or decisions regarding cases.


You’ll need:

  • persuading and negotiating skills
  • active listening skills
  • knowledge of equality and diversity issues
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations (leadership skills)
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

While becoming an Ombudsman primarily requires higher education and professional experience, specific subjects are typically not specified for this role. However, it’s essential to maintain a strong academic foundation in your high school years to prepare for future educational and career pursuits. Suggested subjects may include:

  1. English Language: Strong communication skills are vital in any profession, including roles like Ombudsman.
  2. Mathematics: Proficiency in mathematics can be beneficial for analyzing data and making informed decisions.
  3. Science: A general science background can be helpful in understanding various aspects of the Ombudsman’s role, especially if you plan to specialize in a particular field.
  4. Social Studies or Citizenship: These subjects can provide a foundational understanding of civic responsibility, which is relevant to the Ombudsman’s role.

Post School

To become a qualified mediator, You’ll usually need a higher education qualification or up to five years’ relevant work experience in:

  • law
  • social work
  • counselling
  • therapy or education

You’ll need to undertake a training programme accredited by a relevant professional body or council. Training requirements will depend on the type of mediation you wish to go into.

To work in civil mediation, for example, you can take a course accredited in order to gain registered status. Providers offer training, which is usually carried out in a block of training days, combining theory and practical assessment.

To become a family law mediator, you’ll need a degree and previous experience supporting people with family issues. Successful completion of an accredited course as well as completion a portfolio of practice, makes you eligible for Family Mediation Accreditation.

Working Hours and Environment:

Working hours will depend on the type of mediation you provide and whether you’re self-employed or work for an organisation. For example, family law-based mediation often takes place while clients’ children are at school, offering less disruption for parents and carers.

Office-based mediation services usually operate an appointment service between 9am to 5pm, although you may have to do some evening and Saturday work.

Part-time work and job sharing are both possible.

Career Path & Progression:

Once you’ve established a good track record of providing effective mediation work and received professional endorsements, you’ll be able to apply for more challenging or senior mediation roles. This often involves taking on more important and complex cases where the consequences of not resolving a dispute or achieving an agreed outcome would be significant. This can be particularly important in legal practice, public service or commercial roles.

There are some opportunities to move into management within mediation services, where you’d be responsible for overseeing the recruitment of staff, monitoring the quality of mediation practice, managing budgets and developing the service.

If you decide your long-term goal is to become self-employed, you’ll have the opportunity to choose the cases you want to work on and develop your business in specialist areas of mediation.