Mediation is a no-cost, confidential way
to end disputes without going to court and without using a judge to decide
the case. The court staff or Judge may suggest mediation in lieu of filing
a citizen complaint.
Disputing parties meet with a trained
mediator who can encourage discussions between the parties to help them
reach a mutual agreement. The mediator does not favor one party over the
other. The mediator enables both parties to work together to solve the
problems between them.
At a mediation session, the mediator begins
by explaining what mediation is and how it works. The parties follow
certain rules. One being that everything that goes on in mediation be kept
confidential unless both parties agree not to keep the confidentiality. The
mediator will ask the parties to describe the issues in dispute from their
own viewpoints. After the parties have expressed their viewpoints, the
mediator will help the parties to find ways to compromise and find a
solution that will work for both parties. There are times when the mediator
may meet with the parties separately. These discussions might help the
parties reach an agreement.
When an agreement is reached, the mediator will
prepare a document and all parties will sign the agreement.
If mediation cannot resolve the problems
between the parties, they will be referred to the Municipal Court.