What is Mediation?

What to Expect in Mediation

• The mediator will be impartial and neutral. The mediator will not take sides.

• The mediator will facilitate discussion between participants to the mediation.

• The mediator will not make substantive decisions. The participants make the decisions.

• The mediator will not give you legal advice.

• The mediator will ensure that each participant is permitted to voice their concerns and respond to the concerns expressed by other participants.

• The mediator will work to ensure that discussions remain civil and are conducted in a neutral, comfortable environment, even when discussions produce strong emotions. The mediator may pause or terminate a mediation in appropriate circumstances.

• The mediation is confidential. The mediator will not share information revealed during the mediation with anyone. The participants will agree that the mediator shall not be compelled to divulge information about the mediation should the parties end up in court.

• The mediator will attempt to help you resolve your dispute expeditiously. The mediator will help you keep your “eye on the ball” and work toward resolution rather than get bogged down on matters that, even if important emotionally, the discussion of which will not tend to resolve a dispute.

• Mediation is voluntary. Any participant can pause or terminate the mediation at any time.

What Mediation is Not

• Your mediator is not your lawyer. The mediator will not offer you any legal advice. If you seek legal advice, you should retain your own lawyer. 

• Your mediator is not a judge or jury. What the mediator thinks about the merits of your arguments is irrelevant. You should not try to sway the mediator to “your side” or ask what the mediator thinks about your position. The mediator shall remain neutral.

• Mediation is not counseling. Mediators seek to help participants resolve their disputes. If you believe you need counseling, the mediator may provide you information concerning relevant resources.

• Mediation is not a forum to bully another participant. Civility and decorum are paramount. Discussions that tend toward the resolution of disputes are civil. This is not to say that emotions are not relevant or, at times, expressed. Emotions are not the focus, however, of a mediated dispute 

[Photo courtesy of Aidan Jones, http://flic.kr/p/6rUPaH]