What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process whereby parties meet with a neutral third party (mediator) to resolve their dispute. The mediator will assist the parties to resolve their differences through negotiation.
A mediator is not a judge; he/she will not decide if either party is "right" or "wrong", and will not force any party into accepting a settlement that is not agreeable to all.
Any civil dispute which may be brought to County Court is eligible for mediation.
How Does Mediation Work?
Mediation is always voluntary- no one is compelled to participate. If mediation is selected as an alternative, the clerk or a deputy clerk will schedule the mediation and have notices issued to each of the parties.
At the mediation, the parties will sit down with the mediator in private and explain the problem as they see it and how they think the matter could be resolved.
The mediator oversees the discussion to allow each party a full opportunity to be heard in an atmosphere of cooperation and respect. The parties are encouraged to generate solutions to the dispute and arrive at a settlement. A settlement will not be imposed on either party contrary to his or her will.
When agreement is reached, it may be reduced to writing if all of the parties desire to do so.
Mediation, unlike a formal lawsuit, is conducted in an informal setting.
Due to legal restrictions, a court of law cannot always provide a remedy that will best satisfy the needs of the parties. There may exist many other more practical solutions to a dispute than would a court- rendered judgment. Mediation can provide the opportunity to explore those other solutions.
The parties are always in control of the outcome- no one "loses" a case that is resolved through mediation. And, because a mediated settlement is really a "win-win" solution, everyone feels much better about the outcome, especially when the parties have an ongoing relationship.
During mediation, the parties may learn communication and negotiations skills which can be helpful to them in resolving problems in the future.
There is nothing to risk - no one gives up the right to bring legal action if the dispute is not resolved.
|Cost to File||Small Claim: $50.00|
Civil Suit: $90.00
|Who Decides||The Judge||You and the other party|
|Privacy||It is a matter of public record||Proceedings are private and confidential. Any entries signed may become public record.|
|Attorney||Often necessary||Welcome as an advisor|
|Limitations||Money only, and if it is a small claims case the limit is $3,000||Limited only by the parties imaginations and decisions to agree to proposals.|