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.
Types of cases that could be referred to Mediation:
- Neighborhood Disputes
- Simple Trespass
- Bad Checks
- Simple Harassment
- Dog Complaints
- Noise Complaints