Small claims mediation process

Small claims mediation process

Mediation is the process by which parties attempt to settle a dispute without seeking a judicial resolution. Mediations can save time and reduce the amount of money paid by each party to resolve a dispute. Residents of Maryland and other states should know a few things about the small claims mediation process.

Mediator is assigned

The first part of the mediation is the assignment of a mediator. A mediator must be neutral to all parties to a dispute and have the skills needed to assist people in resolving their issues. In certain instances, courts will assign a mediator to a case, and in other situations, the parties themselves will select a mediator to hear a dispute.

Present arguments

Once a mediator is assigned, each party presents their case to the mediator. This includes discussing the opinions of each party and preparing briefs that contain each of the party’s arguments. Moreover, each party shows the mediator all of the evidence they have to support their position in the case.

Settlement figures

Once the parties have discussed their positions, each party discusses how much money they are willing to offer and accept to resolve a dispute. Oftentimes, the first settlement offer is lower than the final amount a party would offer in order to settle a dispute. In addition, the other party often makes an initial offer that is not the exact figure they would accept to resolve a matter.

Back and forth

After each party presents their initial settlement figures, the mediator will help the parties meet in the middle. This includes a discussion of the claims and defenses in a case so that parties understand that it makes sense to settle their matter rather than permit a court to resolve their dispute. Mediations can be a complicated process, and parties should speak with an experienced mediation and collaborative law attorney if they face a mediation.