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Mediation Opportunities and Resources for Self- Represented Litigants Cate Griffiths, RECOURSE Mediation Services Phone: (707) 525-8545

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Presentation on theme: "Mediation Opportunities and Resources for Self- Represented Litigants Cate Griffiths, RECOURSE Mediation Services Phone: (707) 525-8545"— Presentation transcript:

1 Mediation Opportunities and Resources for Self- Represented Litigants Cate Griffiths, RECOURSE Mediation Services Phone: (707) Gloria Sanchez, Superior Court of California, Contra Costa Phone: (925) Jason Stein, Superior Court of California, Alameda Phone: (510)

2 Agenda Thursday, April 29 1:45 P.M. – 3:15 P.M. 1:45 P.M. Introductions 1:50 P.M. Overview of Civil Mediation 1:55 P.M. Types of Civil Mediation Programs Throughout the State 2:10 P.M. Spotlight on Innovative SRL Mediation Programs (Rural, Suburban, Urban) 2:50 P.M. Outreach and Mediation Program Materials

3 Types of Mediation Available to Self-Represented Litigants Civil Mediation -- Used for non-criminal and non-family cases. Examples are small claims, limited civil, general civil, evictions, civil harassment restraining orders. This is the kind of mediation discussed in this workshop. The mediator does not report to the court or anyone else what happens in the mediation. Civil Mediation -- Used for non-criminal and non-family cases. Examples are small claims, limited civil, general civil, evictions, civil harassment restraining orders. This is the kind of mediation discussed in this workshop. The mediator does not report to the court or anyone else what happens in the mediation. Family Law Mediation – Used in divorce, custody, and child support cases. The Mediator might report what happens in the mediation to a judge or make a recommendation. Family Law Mediation – Used in divorce, custody, and child support cases. The Mediator might report what happens in the mediation to a judge or make a recommendation. Arbitration – Is not mediation but is often confused with it. Arbitration is like a trial with the arbitrator taking evidence and making a decision about the case. Arbitration – Is not mediation but is often confused with it. Arbitration is like a trial with the arbitrator taking evidence and making a decision about the case. Settlement Conference – Is not a mediation but a court- supervised negotiation with a judge, commissioner, or judge pro tem presiding. Different standards of confidentiality apply. Settlement Conference – Is not a mediation but a court- supervised negotiation with a judge, commissioner, or judge pro tem presiding. Different standards of confidentiality apply.

4 Civil Mediation programs generally available to SRLs throughout the State include:  Community Mediation  Court Mediation Panels  Private Mediators

5 Community Mediation: 1. Low cost or sliding scale 2. Great for neighbor disputes, landlord/tenant, small claims, civil harassment, etc. 3. Mediators come from a wide range of professions, not necessarily attorneys. 4. Mediators range in experience from beginner (40-hours of training) to highly experienced. 5. Some Community Mediation Programs may provide mediation on the day of hearing.

6 Court Mediation Panels: 1. Mediators are usually attorneys and/or have a high degree of familiarity with the legal issues they mediate. 2. Mediators must meet minimum requirements, apply and be appointed by a court committee. 3. Initial hour/s may be free, followed by the mediator’s hourly rate.

7 Private Mediators: 1. No minimum requirements in CA. 2. Charge hourly, ½ day, or full day. 3. Costs will be incurred but may be cost effective. 4. May be attorneys, retired bench officers, counselors, or anyone. 5. Experience and expertise will vary. 6. Generally have an hourly minimum that would deter smaller cases such as small claims.

8 Spotlight on Innovative SRL Mediation Programs Rural: Sonoma County -- RECOURSE Suburban: Contra Costa County Urban: San Francisco – SRL Mediation Program, Alameda – SEEDS/CCDR

9 SRL Mediation Workshop The following slides are samples of the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda’s Self-Represented Litigants’ Mediation Workshop PowerPoint slides. This Workshop is presented online and in person.

10 A conversation about the case with the help of a mediator – for the purpose of trying to resolve the dispute VoluntaryConfidential Is not a trial; all decisions are left to the parties Everyone gets a chance to talk Everyone should be willing to negotiate and be open to settling the dispute

11 Parties decide how to resolve the case Improves communication that may repair relationships Less risky than trial May get something a judge will not order (for example, an apology or each person being responsible for certain actions that a court can’t order)

12 Mediation Worksheet Questions to consider about the Dispute: 3. Where you have different ideas on the understandings and agreements, do you have anything to support your belief such as industry standards, notes, receipts, witnesses, photos, etc.? 4. What are the greatest areas of disagreement?

13 Mediation Worksheet Questions to consider about the Resolution: 8. What do you think could be your best result? 9. What do you think could be your worst result? 10. How will you know when it is right to agree to and sign an agreement?

14 Tips on Negotiations Prepare – “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail!” 1. Complete your Mediation Worksheet 2. Make a check list of issues you want to discuss 3. Identify who needs to attend the mediation 4. Make a Mediation Brief, as appropriate 5. Organize and bring any documents you think will help you talk about the problem. CAUTION: you may wish to consult an attorney about legal reasons to include or exclude documents at the mediation 6. Bring a pen and paper to take notes 7. Bring something to eat and/or drink in case you get hungry or thirsty 8. Get a good night’s sleep

15 At the Mediation Use listening skills Do not interrupt. Write down points you would like to remember to address later. Ask for what you want. Be able to explain what you want and why. Provide a breakdown of itemized costs and any damages you claim you suffered. Keep an open mind about solutions you may not have already considered.


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