What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process in which a trained neutral person, a "mediator," helps people in a dispute to communicate with one another, to understand each other, and if possible, to reach agreements that satisfy everyone's needs.
- A mediator can help you to reach agreements, build relationships and find solutions that work.
- In mediation, you speak for yourself and make your own decisions.
- Mediators will not make decisions for you, provide any legal advice, or recommend the terms of an agreement.
- Mediation can help protect your privacy since, unlike courtroom proceedings which are open to the public, mediation is a confidential process.
Why should I try it?
If your case is referred to mediation by the court, or if someone suggests that you try mediation to resolve a conflict, it may be because:
- Mediation may save you time and money.
- Mediation provides an opportunity for you to say what's important to you and hear the other person's perspectives.
- Mediation may help you to figure out how to get your needs and the other person's needs met by reaching creative, customized solutions that work for everyone.
- You have decision-making power in mediation, and you know what your needs are better than any judge or jury.
- Many business disputes, family conflicts, neighborhood disputes, and one-on-one issues can be effectively resolved in mediation.
- Even some criminal and juvenile justice cases are better handled in mediation than in court, especially if the people involved have an ongoing relationship.
- Mediation may help you preserve or improve a troubled business, family or neighborhood relationship.
Everyone Seeks Solutions
Mediation is not about winning and losing, but rather, about having an opportunity to identify solutions that work for everyone:
- Agreements made in mediation come from the participants, not the mediator.
- Participants in mediation may choose to sign a written agreement which is enforceable as a contract.
- If you do not reach an agreement or develop a solution that works for everyone, you can still have your case handled by the court or resolved in some other way.
- If you do not sign a written agreement in mediation, and you decide to take your dispute to court, neither the mediator nor the participants can testify in court about what happened during the mediation.
- You can't "lose" in mediation.
Why does the Judiciary encourage use of mediation?
The Maryland Judiciary recognizes that in appropriate cases people may achieve more satisfactory outcomes in a less time consuming and less expensive manner by using mediation. The courts function as problem solvers and realize the underlying problems in many disputes cannot be resolved by the decision of a judge or jury. Mediation provides the public with an opportunity to resolve many disputes permanently and effectively and provides the courts with a mechanism to relieve overburdened dockets and help prevent disputes from escalating.