Small Claims Program
- The Small Claims Mediation Program provides trained mediators to handle matters on the day of trial.
- Mediators are neutral facilitators who aid parties in negotiating and finding mutually agreeable settlement options. Mediation sessions are confidential.
Facts About Small Claims Mediation
- Most cases are assigned to mediation at the discretion of the judge.
- Parties do not need an attorney to participate in small claims mediation.
- Once in mediation, sessions generally last an hour.
- Mediation is confidential. However, credible threats of violence and reports of abuse to children or elders are an exception to this rule.
- Agreements reached in mediation are enforceable but do not create a formal judgment.
Agreement Reached in MediationAgreements reached in mediation will be approved by the Mediation Supervisor and entered into the Court record. All parties receive a copy of the agreement and do not need to return to the courtroom.
Agreement Not Reached in MediationIf no agreement is reached, parties will go before the judge for the next step in their case, which could be a hearing on a motion, judicial arbitration, or a trial.
Judicial ArbitrationIn Judicial Arbitration, the judge conducts the arbitration. It is different from a trial because:
- All parties must agree to participate in arbitration.
- A judgment is entered only if the party does not abide by the terms of the judicial arbitration.
- The parties do not have the right to appeal the decision after it has been made.
Small Claims Program Location
- The parties cannot withdraw from arbitration once it begins.
- Location of mediations:
Small Claims Mediation Center
Court Building B, Room 123
510 4th Street, N.W.