The Jackson County Circuit Court believes that people who work cooperatively to reach a solution are more likely to honor the agreement and work together. Therefore, the Court requires the use of mediation services in Small Claims and Landlord-Tenant disputes.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a cooperative way to solve problems. The mediator is a professional or trained volunteer who helps parties discuss their issues, communicate with one another, and resolve misunderstandings. The mediator does not give legal advice or make a decision. Instead, the parties are responsible for the decision. The mediator's role is to help the parties identify their concerns and find a solution that satisfies all parties.
If the parties reach an agreement, the matter will be closed, provided the parties follow the agreement. If one party does not follow the agreement or fails to attend mediation, the other party can file for a judgment against them. If the parties do not reach an agreement in mediation, the case will be scheduled for trial.
How is my case assigned to mediation?
Small Claims cases - When a “Response” is filed your case will be assigned to mediation and a hearing will be scheduled.
Landlord-Tenant cases - You must appear at the time and date listed on your court documents and the judge may assign your case to mediation.
If both parties live in Jackson County and the steps above are followed, the case will be assigned to mediation during the first court appearance.
What are the benefits of mediation?
- Parties have a voice in their case and greater control over the outcome
- Parties report high satisfaction
- Parties do not need to bring evidence or witnesses
- Mediation significantly reduces court caseloads
- Research shows that people who reach an agreement in mediation are more likely to comply with the terms than those who are ordered to make payment without mediation
Who are the mediators?
Mediators are professional staff from Resolve and trained volunteers. To be a mediator, one must have good communication skills, the ability to remain impartial, and a commitment to resolving conflict through collaboration. Volunteer mediators have found their work to be very gratifying. They also have found their new skills beneficial in their personal and professional lives.
What qualifies a person to mediate?
To qualify as a mediator, one must complete a 36-hour course in mediation skills plus 6 hours of training in court procedures. This qualifies the mediator for small claims cases. There is an additional 2-hour training for landlord-tenant cases. All mediators also serve an apprenticeship – observing mediations and conducting supervised mediations. Training is free for volunteers in exchange for a commitment to mediate two cases per month for one year. There is no other educational or job history requirement to become a mediator.
How to volunteer?
Persons interested in becoming a volunteer mediator are invited to call Resolve