What is Small Claims Court Mediation?

Posted on Aug 12, 2019

What is Small Claims Court Mediation?

Some small claims cases mandate a mediated resolution of disputes whenever possible. Mediation in small claims courts enables courts to resolve disputes without time-consuming litigation and high costs. It also benefits plaintiffs and defendants, saving them from spending too much time and money as well as giving them the ability to come to a mutually agreed upon result rather than having a resolution imposed by the court. 

Small claims mediations can be especially useful if your dispute is with someone who you want to keep positive ongoing relations with, such as a friend, neighbor, partner or customer. Additionally, because small claims mediation is often free or low-cost, it is a viable method for resolving disputes more amicably. 

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a conflict resolution process that is party driven and is aimed at reaching a solution to a dispute that is mutually agreeable. The process is voluntary in most cases (unless mandated by a court) and the parties communicate with each other directly, while a mediator serves as a referee to ensure that each party stays on course to reach a desired resolution. The results of mediation must be mutually agreed upon by both parties. 

Mediation is often preferred because both parties are able to control the outcome. During the process, any underlying issues between both parties are brought into the forefront so the dispute at hand can be resolved. An experienced mediator can help to draw this information out, helping each party to better reach a settlement.

Mediation is not for everyone and it may not be suitable for your situation. If you just want 100% of what you are asking for and are unwilling to settle for a penny less, no matter the reason, or if you want to see the other party suffer in a courtroom and before a judge, then mediation is likely a waste of time for you and you should pursue a small claims court case instead. Carefully consider your plans and goals before taking the steps to mediate.