Mediation Education

Frequently Asked Questions

What is mediation?

Mediation is a process whereby a neutral person, the mediator, assists the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable resolution to their dispute. The mediator does not have the authority to make a binding decision, unlike arbitration, where the arbitrator renders a decision that is final and binding.

Why use mediation if we have already negotiated and were unable to settle?

A mediator can bring a new perspective to the proceedings. Through the mediator’s own knowledge of the subject matter, he or she can assist parties in exploring alternatives that they might not have previously considered.

How long does mediation take?

Most cases are settled in a few hours. Others may require additional time, depending on the complexity of the issues.

What does mediation cost?

Please see the mediator’s fee schedule. All expenses are generally split equally between the parties, unless otherwise agreed.

Since mediation is non-binding, is the settlement enforceable?

Yes. A signed settlement agreement is an enforceable contract.

Which types of cases are suitable for mediation?

Almost every civil matter is suitable for mediation.

May I use mediation if the case is pending in court?

Yes. In Florida all court cases must go to mediation prior to trial either by court order or voluntarily by the parties. There are some exceptions.

What is the role of the mediator?

The mediator facilitates dialogue between the parties to help them develop their own resolution to their issues and concerns. Agreements reached are by mutual consent of all parties. Mediators do not take sides, impose decisions, or give advice.

How does a case reach mediation?

Cases reach mediation in a variety of ways. Cases may be self referred by anyone who is involved in the dispute or by the counsel of any party. Cases also are referred by the courts, law enforcement, elected officials, and public agencies.

Who participates in mediation?

The participants in mediation are the actual parties involved in the dispute. There may be only two parties, or there may be a large group of twenty or more. It is not necessary to bring witnesses. If attorneys have been retained, they are encouraged to attend the mediation to advise their clients. Participants must have full authority to settle the case at the mediation.

What is the role of attorneys when present at mediation?

Mediators work directly with the disputing parties who should be prepared to explain in their own words the nature of the dispute. Attorneys are encouraged to attend to advise their clients, clarify factual and legal issues, and help with crafting any agreements.

What evidence should be brought to the mediation?

Any documents, photographs, videos, etc., that would assist the parties in communicating their case to each other and the mediator.

What are the chances that my case will settle?

National statistics indicate that 85% of commercial matters and 95% of personal injury matters end in settlement agreements.

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