Living and working in a community is about relationships–between individuals, neighbors, contractors, landlords and tenants, small businesses, and academic institutions. Litigation can be adversarial, unpleasant, time-consuming, and costly. Disputes are often the result of misunderstandings and miscommunications. Contested issues can almost always be worked out by sitting down face-to-face with the other party, acknowledging what went wrong, and trying to fix it. There is no doubt that sometimes a judge or jury is necessary to resolve a dispute. However, we need each other to create a thriving and positive community, and mediation is one way to achieve that harmony.
Parties meet with the mediator and issues are discussed with an eye toward mutual agreements on resolving the issue(s). Mediations will either be held with all parties in the same room or in separate spaces.
It means that whatever you say in mediation (whether it is when you and the mediator are talking alone, or when you and the other party are talking with the mediator), will not be repeated outside the mediation by the mediator or any party present. If the mediation is not successful and you go to court or another legal proceeding, the mediator cannot be subpoenaed or required to testify in court, nor can any/all records or paperwork from MMC be used in the court proceeding.
Parties are encouraged not to share information discussed during mediation outside of the mediation, and bringing up these details in front of a judge is frowned upon. This confidential space allows greater transparency during the mediation from all parties increasing the chances of a mutually acceptable resolution.
That both parties must agree to mediate. If one party does not want to participate, then the mediation cannot occur. Either party or the mediator may end the mediation at any time, for any reason.
If you and the other party are unable to come up with an agreement in mediation, then you can take other action such as filing a claim in court (or return to court if you have already initiated a complaint) or take the matter to arbitration. That is your choice. The mediator will not tell you what to do. The mediator does not provide legal advice or encouragement to either party.
Mediation gives you and the other party the chance to resolve the dispute yourselves. Most people are more satisfied with resolutions that they develop themselves. In general, mediation is less costly and faster than arbitration or litigation.
You may bring your attorney to the mediation, but counsel is not required. If your attorney does not participate and a written agreement is created during the mediation process, you may take the agreement to your attorney for review, before it is finalized. You may also contact your attorney via telephone at any time during the mediation. Mediators do not provide legal advice or encouragement to either party.
We suggest allowing up to 4 hours for mediation. This time may be shorter, or additional sessions may be needed. Being prepared for your mediation with relevant paperwork and an understanding of the issues increases productive use of time.
MMC is fortunate to work with professional and court-qualified mediators who volunteer their services for many of our programs. Our mediators have completed specialized training and have significant mediation experience.
Both parties have to reach and sign a written agreement for the process to be legally binding. If one or both parties are unsatisfied with the outcome, or do not agree to a solution, then they are free to use the court system to resolve their dispute.