- Most cases are assigned to mediation at the discretion of the judge.
- Parties do not need an attorney to participate in small claims mediation.
- Mediation sessions generally last an hour.
Keep the details of my case private?Mediation is confidential. However, credible threats of violence and reports of abuse to children or elders are an exception to this rule.
Take next steps if the other side doesn’t follow the agreement terms?If one side does not follow the terms of the agreement, the court will enforce the written agreement, when notified of non-compliance.
proceed if agreement is reached in mediation?Agreements 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.
If either side does not abide by the terms of the agreement, the judge can order them to do so.
proceed if agreement is not reached in mediation?If 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. More information about arbitration is below.
Weigh my options if no agreement is reached in mediation?Parties who are unable to reach an agreement have two options. They may proceed back into the court room and seek a trial or Judicial Arbitration.
Judicial Arbitration is a hearing at which both parties have an opportunity to be heard. The judge conducts the arbitration. It is different from a trial because:
All parties must agree to participate in arbitration. In a trial, only one side brings a case. A judgment is entered only if the party does not abide by (follow) the terms of the judicial arbitration. There is no public record of one side being found guilty or wrong unless a party does not follow the terms of the judge’s decision. The parties do not have the right to appeal the decision after it has been made. The parties cannot withdraw from arbitration once it begins.