Mediation & Small Claims Court
Mediation gives you the option to work out a resolution often more favorable than in court.
How Small Claims Mediation Works:
If both parties agree to mediation, the parties leave the courtroom with a MMC
mediator, who is a neutral party. The mediator makes no decisions for the parties; the mediator just helps facilitate
resolution of the issue.
In the courtroom, the judge can only make a monetary outcome determination, and issue a judgment against one party or the other. That monetary judgment is due and payable, but the court does not enforce the collection of the judgment. During mediation, you can work out payment plans or other creative solutions that satisfy both parties.
If after some period of time, a party decides that mediation won’t resolve the dispute, the parties sign the mediation form, and go back into the courtroom for the judge to hear the case.
If the judge decides the case, and either party wants to appeal the result, there is one condition … the parties have to mediate first. If the parties have already tried mediation at the small claims court session, this requirement is deemed satisfied, and the appeal can proceed. If the parties did not try mediation, the parties are now required to mediate and the court will send out notice of mediation.
Some of the Benefits of Mediation:
- During mediation, you get to decide the outcome of your dispute, not a judge or jury.
- In mediation, the focus is on the needs and interests of the parties, not the law.
- Mediation allows you to preserve a continuing relationship with the other party, rather than increased or continued hostility.
- Mediation deals with feeling and emotions, not just legal issues.
- Parties participating in mediation often experience higher levels of satisfaction with the outcome, which results in greater compliance with any agreements reached during mediation.
- Mediation tends to be more informal than going to court since there are no formal rules of procedure.
- Mediation is faster than going to court and most often, settlement can be reached in just a few hours.
- Mediation is more cost-effective than going to court and you don’t necessarily need an attorney in mediation.
- Mediation is a private proceeding, unlike most court cases, which are public records.