The District Court Civil Writ mediation program provides litigants with an opportunity to try to resolve their cases with the help of a mediator rather than having to go before a judge.
The Civil Writ program is voluntary. In order for mediation to take place, both parties would have to agree to participate. The Court will send the parties or counsel (if any) an "Opt-Out of Mediation Notice" at the time they send a Notice of Hearing. If you would like to try to mediate your matter, you do not have to do anything. If the Court does not hear from either party, the Court will schedule the mediation. If you do not want to try mediation, you must send the Opt-Out notice back to the Court. If the Court receives an Opt-Out from any party, mediation will not be scheduled in the case.
Mediation is a confidential process in which both sides meet with a mediator who has been approved by the State Court System. The mediator is trained to discuss the case with you and assist you in working out a resolution. The mediator will listen to both you, and the other side, to help each of you see things in a way that may allow you find a solution that meets both your needs.
If you present your case to a judge, it is entirely possible that the judge may not rule in your favor. Through a mediator, you get to control the outcome. The ultimate decision about whether to settle your case and the terms of the settlement will rest in your hands. If at any point during the mediation you are unhappy about how it is going, you can end the process, and have your case heard by a judge.
If you do reach an agreement, your agreement will be presented to a judge, and the terms of the agreement will become a court order. If a resolution cannot be reached at mediation, a judge will hear your case, and the settlement discussions will not be admitted during your trial.
There is no additional cost for this service as mediation is offered for the convenience of the parties. The program is funded by a $10.00 surcharge on the filing of all civil writ matters in District Court.