What is Mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary process in which people with a dispute meet at a reserved time with a trained impartial person who is called a mediator. The mediator listens to all parties in an effort to understand the situation and to learn how each party would like to see the problem resolved. The mediator does not decide who is right or wrong. The mediator assists the parties in reaching an agreement.
If the parties are able to reach an agreement, it is put into brief written form by the mediator. The parties sign and receive a copy. In those matters involving criminal charges, the mediator makes a recommendation about its disposition to the prosecutor assigned to handle the case. These recommendations are reviewed by the State’s Attorney’s Office which retains final discretion.
Who Are The Mediators?
The mediators are trained professionals in the community.
What is the Cost?
This is a grant-funded service provided by the State’s Attorney’s Office. There is no cost to you.
What Types of Disputes?
Mediation referrals will be made in cases where the parties themselves cannot resolve the dispute and which have resulted or may result in criminal conduct such as:
*Neighborhood Problems: Arguments over pets, noise, etc.
*Domestic Problems: Non-violent disputes between family members, boyfriend/girlfriend, roommates, etc.
*Landlord/Tenant Problems: Disputes over damages, trespass, property, etc.
*Business Relations Problems: Disputes over money, goods, contracts, etc.
Does Mediation Work?
Similar programs in other jurisdictions tell us that cases that are mediated result in an agreement most of the time. People generally find the service a welcome alternative to the Court system.
What About Lawyers or Witnesses?
Parties may bring lawyers or witnesses if they wish. However, the mediation sessions are brief (approximately one hour) and informal. Involvement of witnesses is limited because the parties play the most important part in resolving the dispute by reaching an agreement.
Where Will It Take Place?
Mediation sessions will take place in the office of the designated mediator or such other location as may be mutually agreed.