Mediation – Magistrate Court
Mediation is a process by which a Neutral facilitates settlement discussions between parties. The Neutral has no authority to make a decision or impose a settlement upon the parties. The Neutral attempts to focus the attention of the parties upon their needs and interest rather than upon rights and positions. In the absence of a settlement, the parties are still eligible to appear before a judge to plead their case.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. What are the benefits of Mediation?
A. Mediation allows you to control your own dispute and resolve the problem yourself rather than having a judge decide for you. Mediation is also fast and cost effective. There is no additional cost to participate in the mediation program. In a mediation session, everyone has the opportunity to voice their concerns and the privilege of speaking without interruption.
Q. What is the Mediator’s Role?
A. The mediator does not act in the capacity of an attorney and is not an advocate for either party. The mediator facilitates discussions and assists parties in reaching an agreement. The mediator shall at all times remain neutral, unbiased and shall act in good faith.
Q. What evidence should be brought to mediation?
A. During mediation, parties should exchange any evidence that might potentially be presented to a judge at trial (i.e., pictures, contracts, lease agreements, etc). If a settlement agreement is not reached and the parties proceed to trial, evidence that has not first been viewed by the other party will not be considered by the judge.
Q. Are Witnesses Allowed?
A. Witnesses should be kept to a minimum, as mediation is not an advocacy or fact-establishing forum. Witnesses are allowed at the discretion of the Mediator and the opposing party.
Q. Is there a cost for Mediation?
A. Mediation for the Effingham County Magistrate Court is voluntary and free.