|WHAT IS MEDIATION?
Mediation is a way to resolve conflict by using a trained, neutral
mediator to help you negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement.
In mediation, you are responsible for describing what you want
to achieve by mediation, listening to information from the other
party, and suggesting and evaluating possible solutions to the
dispute. Ultimately, you and the other party decide whether or
not to settle the dispute and, if so, on what terms. The mediator
is responsible for making the process understandable and workable
by outlining the steps and ground rules of the mediation; by
encouraging you and the other party to define and clarify issues;
by adapting the process to accommodate cultural differences and
variations in style; and by providing opportunities to break
Mediation empowers you to put creative solutions in motion
by unlocking your imagination and individuality. It presents
the opportunity to improve relationships by expressing differences
constructively, gaining insight into interests of the other
party, and developing mutual understanding.
WHAT DOES THE MEDIATOR DO?
Mediators are trained, impartial third parties who assist parties
in reaching an agreement to settle their dispute. Mediators
intervene and facilitate communication by helping disputants
describe their feelings, clarify issues, determine their
true interests, identify underlying concerns, and where possible,
negotiate an agreement.
WHAT DON'T MEDIATORS DO?
Mediators do not serve as judge or jury, do not determine right
and wrong, and do not place blame on any person. Mediators
do not impose a decision on either party like a judge or
arbitrator. Their only interest is in helping the parties
to resolve differences and reach a mutually agreeable solution.
Mediators do not provide legal advice, counseling or therapy.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE MEDIATION PROCESS?
The mediator introduces the process and then invites each party
to define the conflict or problem as they see it. As the
disputants express their feelings about the situation, the
mediator develops a clearer understanding of the conflict,
and will ask questions designed to clarify each person’s
perspective and define what is desired to move beyond the
problem. In this way, important information comes to light,
which may not have been understood by the other party. Sometimes
the mediators may ask for a private meeting or "caucus" with
one disputant at a time in order to get a clear idea of their
goals and needs. The mediators may also ask for a "mediator
caucus" without the parties present.
WHERE AND WHEN DO MEDIATIONS TAKE PLACE?
Mediation sessions take place at various locations throughout
San Luis Obispo County. Creative Mediation uses community
centers and our own offices for mediations. The sessions
can take place during the day, evening, or weekend at the
convenience of the parties involved. Creative Mediation also
provides mediation services at three SLO County Superior
Court locations each week.
WHAT DOES A MEDIATED AGREEMENT LOOK LIKE?
A settlement or resolution reached between the parties may
be oral or written at the discretion of the disputants. Agreements
reached in mediation are considered binding and enforceable.
Unless otherwise agreed upon, the agreement will be established
in writing and signed by each disputant.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE MEDIATION DOES NOT END IN AGREEMENT?
If participants are unable to reach an agreement on the issues
in their case, they can seek other ways to resolve their
dispute, including the legal system or additional mediation.
WHAT ABOUT CONFIDENTIALITY?
Mediation is confidential. For the process to be successful,
both parties must feel free to discuss the issues openly.
All participants in the mediation, including the mediators
and any observers, will be required to sign a confidentiality
agreement before the session begins. By signing the agreement,
the parties are making the mediation confidential and preventing
information discussed in the session from being used in any
future legal proceedings.
HOW LONG IS A MEDIATION SESSION?
Mediation sessions are typically one to three hours. If necessary,
a second mediation may be scheduled with the agreement of
all parties. Additional fees may be required for extended
ARE ATTORNEYS OR OTHER ADVISORS ALLOWED IN THE MEDIATION SESSION?
Each party may bring their attorney or advisor to the session
but the advisors are encouraged not to participate directly
in the mediation process. If an advisor plans to attend a
mediation session, they must agree to honor the format of
mediation and sign the confidentiality statement. In addition,
Creative Mediation also requires prior notification of the
WILL ANYONE ELSE BE AT THE MEDIATION SESSION?
Mediation trainees may be present at your session. Please call
Creative Mediation before your mediation session if you do
not want observers present.
IF I HAVE TO CANCEL BEFORE THE MEDIATION SESSION?
If you decide to use the services of Creative Mediation, your
decision affects many people. Since Creative Mediation mediators
offer their time to resolve your dispute productively, it is extremely
important that you attend the mediation session scheduled for
you and that you cancel only in case of emergency. If you must
cancel, Creative Mediation requires at least a 24-hour cancellation
notice or you will be charged for the full cost of the mediation.
IS SLO SOLUTIONS?
A cost-free conflict resolution service being offered to all SLO
residents, sponsored by City of SLO, Cal Poly and Cuesta College.
WHERE CAN I FIND LANDLORD/TENANT INFORMATION & RESOURCES?
Landlords and Tenants:
www.nolo.com - Law forms and do-it-yourself legal resources, kits and books for consumers.
http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook (or call Dept of Consumer Affairs at 1-800-952-5210 for a mailed copy of the “landlord book”)
Housing – Off Campus Rental Information 756-5700 or http://www.housing.calpoly.edu. Free legal advice for Poly students: Pro Bono Attorney at Poly every other Friday for 15 minute free appointments call 756-1281.
Free legal advice for Cuesta students: Pro Bono Attorney at Cuesta for 15 minute free appointments call 546-3289.
Tenant Rights and Advocacy:
www.tenantstogether.org - This is a CA statewide renters’ rights organization or phone at 415-495-8100. They also have a new foreclosure info hotline at 415-495-8012.