What to Expect from Business Mediation
Any civil action involving commercial transactions may be referred to the Business Mediation program. Cases are referred by the judge, but parties can request to use the program.
Once a case is referred, the business mediation process can start:
- The Dispute Resolution Department will assign a neutral and impartial mediator. In addition to the Dispute Resolution Department mediators, attorneys on the Court’s business mediator list can be assigned to mediate a case. As part of the mediator assignment process, the parties may receive a list of three Court-approved mediators to rank in order of preference. The parties’ rankings will be considered, but do not necessarily determine who is assigned to handle the case.
- Once the mediator is selected, the mediator will contact the parties and set a date for the mediation hearing. The hearing can be held either in hearing rooms in the Dispute Resolution Department on the 10th floor of the Justice Center, or a location approved by the parties and mediator.
- During the hearing, the mediator will help the parties explore options for resolving the case by agreement. The mediator is not able to provide legal advice to the parties or make a factual or legal finding to resolve the case. The mediator can ask questions to help identify the issues, clarify the parties’ interests and concerns and challenge their assessment of the case.
- At the conclusion of the mediation, the mediator files a report with the Dispute Resolution Department which informs the Court who was in attendance at the mediation, the length of time the hearing took, and whether the case settled.
The first four hours of the mediation are free to the parties. After four hours, the parties may be asked if they wish to continue and agree to pay the mediator an hourly rate.