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Civil Mediation

Mediation  is  a  highly  effective  form  of  settlement conference  in  which  a  trained  and  skilled  third  party  neutral facilitates communication, reconciliation and negotiation between the  parties,  in  order  to  achieve  the  voluntary  and  mutually acceptable resolution  of  disputes.  Mediation can most easily be understood as facilitated communications toward an agreement.

Mediation  is  different  from  other  forms  of  dispute resolution  in  that  the  parties  participate  voluntarily,  and  the mediator  has  no  authority  to  make  a  decision.    The  decision making  power  rests  in  the  hands  of  the  parties.    Judges make decisions that are imposed on parties.    Mediators do not.    An agreement is reached at mediation through the facilitated negotiation process.

Mediation is a confidential process. The mediation session is held in private.  The sessions are not tape-recorded or transcribed.  At the conclusion of the mediation, the Mediator destroys any notes she took.  The Mediator will not, and cannot, disclose any information revealed during the mediation to third parties. The communications by the parties cannot be introduced as evidence in any arbitral, judicial or other proceeding.

Mediation  normally  begins  with  a  joint  session  with  all parties  and  their  counsel.  The  joint  session  provides  an opportunity for each party, either directly or through counsel, to express their views on issues to the other party.  The joint session is intended to begin the settlement process so statements during this session should not be derogatory or provocative.

After  the  initial  joint  session,  the  parties  break  up  into separate groups or caucuses, where the majority of the negotiation process  takes  place.    The Mediator will  have  private  and confidential caucuses with each of the parties and their counsel to explore interests and settlement options.  She goes back and forth between the caucuses, carrying various settlement proposals and communicating important information between the parties.   The Mediator  keeps  information  obtained  in  the  private  sessions confidential  unless she  is  authorized  to  disclose  it  to  the  other party.

Once a settlement is reached, a written agreement is signed before the parties leave the mediation.