Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process that involves a trained neutral mediator facilitating communication between the parties. The mediator does not decide the dispute, but rather helps the parties to communicate so that they can try to resolve it on their own. Mediation leaves control of the outcome to the parties and is usually a voluntary process, although sometimes statutes, rules, or court orders may require participation in mediation. ADR procedures may be initiated by the parties or may be required by legislation, courts or contractual conditions. Court-ordered mediation in accordance with Rule 17 for civil cases in general and in accordance with Rule 88 for family law cases also protects the mediation process as a confidential negotiation of a settlement. The San Joaquin County Superior Court recently received a grant through the California Courts Administrative Office (AOC) to implement a formal civil mediation program that will allow lawyers and clients involved in general civil litigation greater access to affordable, high-quality mediation.
It requires the submission of a post-mediation survey within 10 days after the end of any court-related mediation session, regardless of the outcome of the mediated case. Mediation is confidential and private, so the other party cannot use what you say in mediating against you in court later on. Many counties have mediation programs (also called dispute resolution programs) that offer free or low-cost mediation before or after a court case is opened. A mediator is an experienced lawyer who has completed a formal mediation training program approved by the court or who has met the training and experience requirements established by the Court. Whether a mediation agreement is binding depends on the law of each jurisdiction, but most mediation agreements are considered enforceable contracts. With mediation, you often have an hour or more to talk to the other party while the mediator helps guide you.