Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR)
The Self-Help Center provides information and education on alternatives to civil litigation, such as mediation (negotiating a resolution to a dispute with the aid of a neutral facilitator known as a mediator) and arbitration (submitting the case to a trier of fact known as an arbitrator who hears evidence and decides the outcome of the case, much like a judge).
Mediation is a way to reach a voluntary agreement with the help of a neutral persona, who is specially trained to solve disputes where the parties and/or their attorneys have been unable to reach agreement. It can help both parties improve communication and explore options for settling disputes.
How Mediation Works
First, the Mediator explains the process to the parties and gets background information, and if they agree to mediate, sets up a time and place for the mediation session.
During the session, each party tells their side of the story, with the mediator helping clarify each viewpoint so it is heard and understood by the other party. The mediator helps the participants identify the basic components of the conflict, and state their own interests and needs.
During the mediation, the Mediator will help balance the discussion, as each party takes turns talking about the issues. The mediator will not force the parties to settle in a particular way. Instead, the mediator will assist both parties to resolve the dispute in terms of each party's needs and interests. The agreements reached through mediation are not limited to what the law would require and can more easily accommodate the special circumstances of each case.