Referral of Cases
Upon the filing of a small claims complaint, the case is scheduled for mediation to be held at the court in which the complaint was filed. Parties are notified by mail of the date at the same time they are notified of the small claims hearing. This notice also instructs parties to contact the Joint Court Mediation Project office to confirm that they will attend as ordered. The mediation session will be approximately 1 to 3 weeks prior to the hearing date. At the request of a complaining party, disputes may be referred to mediation and scheduled by the small claims clerks prior to the filing of a small claims complaint.
Mediation of small claims cases is coordinated through the Joint Court Mediation Project (JCMP). Mediators are members of the JCMP staff and trained volunteers from the community.
Due to the nature of the small claims actions, parties who attend these sessions are generally unrepresented, though counsel is not excluded from the sessions if they wish to be there.
As the mediation session begins, all participants are encouraged to relate the issues they believe to be important for consideration, to listen to information and contributions from other participants, and to respond as appropriate and desired. During the course of the mediation process, ideas and proposals for settlement of the case will be exchanged and evaluated by the participants.
When an agreement as to the settlement of the case has been reached, that agreement is reduced to writing and signed by the parties. The agreement will then be filed with the court in which the complaint was filed.