What to Expect from Civil Mediation
Any civil action may be referred to the Civil Mediation program. Cases are referred to mediation by the Judge, but parties can request to use the program.
Once a case is referred, the mediation process begins:
- The Dispute Resolution Department will schedule the mediation and assign a neutral and impartial mediator.
- The mediator will help the parties explore options for resolving the case by agreement. The mediator will not provide legal advice, or make factual or legal findings. The mediator can ask questions to help identify issues, clarify the parties’ interests and challenge their assessment of the case.
- At the conclusion of the mediation, the mediator will notify the Court who attended the mediation, whether the case settled, and whether the parties are interested in further mediation hearings.
A civil action may be referred to mediation at any time during the litigation process.
The parties are encouraged to work with the court, and each other, regarding when to mediate. The decision of when to mediate is often a balancing act between the need for information (“discovery”) and the costs associated with obtaining that information.
Pre-mediation summary forms are due from all parties 14 days before the scheduled mediation.
Blank summary forms are included with the scheduling notice, and are available to download. The parties are encouraged to exchange summary forms with each other. The parties may also choose to submit a private summary for the mediator. Summary forms should not be filed with the Clerk of Courts.
Mediations are held on the 10th floor of the Justice Center, in the Dispute Resolution Department. There is no additional cost to the parties to participate in the Civil Mediation program.