Mediation Q & A
What is mediation?
Mediation is a confidential meeting between people who have a disagreement and a trained, impartial mediator who guides a discussion of issues toward a mutually acceptable agreement. In addition, it does not involve a decision by a mediator as they are not a judge, but rather a facilitator of dialogue. To contact Mediation, call 760-434-2868.
Is mediation legally binding?
No. Mediators are not judges; it is their role to work with both parties to help determine a long term solution. The decision/agreement created is one that both parties have devised together. The final, signed written agreement is for your use and cannot be used in court.
Are the mediations confidential?
Yes. Mediation is governed by California Evidence Code sections 1115-1128, which provides that statements made during mediation are confidential and inadmissible against another party in any subsequent non-criminal proceeding. Further, the mediators do not report back to the courts on the content of the mediation, nor are they available to testify as to what was said during mediation.
Why is mediation a better route than going through prosecution?
Mediation is generally a good option when trying to resolve matters peacefully with a neighbor or other party. In most circumstances you are living next door to this person and this is one of the most amicable ways to resolve it. In addition, by using the mediation process, the issue can be resolved quickly, as opposed to a longer process through the court system.
Once a case is initiated with the program and the respondent is notified of the situation, do we need to go to formal mediation?
Not always. Many times the respondent is not aware that the situation exists and will make the necessary steps to address the problem on their own. We will give them a grace period to resolve the matter. We ask the initiator to follow up with us if it is not resolved. At that time, we will then touch base once again with the respondent and request formal mediation so that both parties can resolve the matter together.
What if the other party simply declines mediation? Then what?
We will send a letter to the initiator, with a copy to the respondent, advising them the case is closed because the respondent chose not to participate.
What can I expect when I attend mediation?
When you arrive at the mediation location, which is noted on your confirmation email, you will be in a room with one or two mediators, the other party, and yourself. After introductions, the mediators will review the ground rules and explain the basics of the mediation process.
- The mediators will begin by asking one of the parties to explain the situation from their side without interruption. Then, the other side will be given this same opportunity.
- Through this process the mediators will work with both parties to hopefully find common ground. If it can be found, then the mediators will write up an agreement for both parties to sign.
Most importantly, know that virtually all mediations require some level of compromise on behalf of each party and that a cooperative nature on both sides is the cornerstone of sucess.
If an agreement has been made, but not being adhered to, then what?
When both parties design a written agreement, a timeframe for correction should be written into the agreement. If the timeframe has passed and the issue has not been resolved, then the parties may treat the issue the same as if an agreement had not been made during the actual mediation session.
Can't you just tell my neighbor he/she is wrong and that they just need to do what we want?
No. It is not the role of the mediator to place judgment on either party member. In mediation, the mediator is always a neutral party.
Who can I bring with me to the mediation process?
Because mediations are confidential, the integrity of the process is protected. It is preferred that only the initiator and the respondent participate in the mediation process. However, either party may bring one additional person who resides in their household, for a total of 2 per side, with them.
Do I bring evidence to the mediation?
Please keep in mind that this is not a court proceeding and is not set up for a hearing or for seeing evidence. It is meant for both sides to work together to find a solution to the established issue. However, you may bring items that can help to further explain the issue such as a call log, a picture, etc.
How were the mediators trained?
The mediators were trained by National Conflict Resolution Center instructors. After attending a rigorous training, the volunteer mediators then shadowed other mediators during actual cases. Currently, these well-trained mediators usually co-mediate with two mediators working on a case together.
Where do the mediations take place?
All mediations are scheduled at a City of Carlsbad facility near to your home. When both parties have agreed to the mediation, the location will be sent to them.
How long do mediations take?
We always ask the parties to schedule at least two hours but it depends on the complexity of the issue(s).
Can I leave in the middle of the mediation if I want to?
You are encouraged to stay throughout the mediation. If you leave early, the process will be voided. It will also be noted that you were the party that left the mediation.
What do the mediation services cost?
This service is provided free of charge to all residents of Carlsbad.
Who can request mediation?
Anyone can request mediation; however, you and the respondent must both be residents of Carlsbad.