Selecting a mediator

Parties in the Court-Ordered Mediation program may select any mediator they wish.

Civil Mediation Panel Members

Parties who select a Panel member or ask the court to assign a Panel member receive 3 hours of mediation services at no cost. This includes 1 hour of pre-mediation services and 2 hours of mediation.

The Panel mediator may bill the court $150 for this time and may charge the parties market rates or reduced rates for additional time.

All Civil Mediation Panel members are California attorneys who have met certain minimum qualifications and who are required to adhere to specific ethical standards. Each mediator provides a detailed Profile describing his/her background, training, policies and practices.

Private, Non-Panel Mediators

Parties who select private, non-panel mediators for Court-Ordered Mediations do not receive free mediation services and must make their own arrangements to pay their mediator without contribution from the court.

The case remains “court-ordered,” however, so the parties and non-panel mediators must comply with program requirements. For more information, see Civil Mediation for Private Non-Panel Mediators.

Court-Assigned Mediators

If parties do not select a mediator, the court will randomly assign a member of the Civil Mediation Panel to the case, and parties receive three (3) hours of mediation services at no cost. The mediator may bill the court $150 for this time and may charge the parties market rates if they request additional time.

For more information, see the Court-Ordered Mediation Information Sheet for Parties/Counsel.

 What if the parties want to settle the case before the mediation session?

Settlement discussions are always encouraged. If the case fully settles, parties must immediately notify their mediator and must do so no later than 2 days before the mediation session.

Parties must also file a Notice of Settlement of Entire Case.

What if one party files for bankruptcy?

If there is only one defendant in the case and that defendant files for bankruptcy, the case is put on hold ("stayed"). The hearing cannot take place until the bankruptcy case is decided. If there is more than one defendant, sometimes the case will go forward with the participation of the remaining defendants.

How Do I Prepare for Mediation?

It is very important to prepare for a meaningful mediation session in these ways:

    1. Cooperate with your mediator’s requests concerning scheduling, pre-mediation phone calls, and Mediation Briefs and documents.
    2. Complete enough discovery (get the information you need) to make serious decisions at the mediation session. Parties are encouraged to exchange information informally, without formal discovery requests, when possible.
    3. Make sure that all necessary people attend the mediation.
    4. Complete any necessary motions before the mediation or try to resolve or limit the need for such motions.
    5. Calculate the costs of further litigation and trial (include time off work for parties and witnesses; discovery; motions; attorneys’ fees; expert witness fees; court costs; jury fees).
    6. Consider: What do you hope to achieve in this case? What do you think the other parties hope to achieve?
    7. Consider: The risks and uncertainty of trial compared to the possible benefits of trial. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your case? What are the best/worst things about going to trial?
    8. Consider: The risks, costs and benefits of working out a settlement agreement during a free 3-hour mediation session.
    9. Write a settlement agreement that you think would be fair to all parties.
    10. If your mediation completion date does not give you enough time to prepare for your mediation, file the Stipulation and Order for Continuance of Court-Ordered Mediation Date. There is a $20 filing fee.
© 2011 Superior Court of California, County of Riverside