Prior to any mediation, participants must sign an “agreement to mediate.” This agreement establishes the parties' understanding of the mediation process. Every attempt is made to provide all parties and representatives with a copy of the agreement for review prior to the mediation session. The agreement to mediate includes the following clauses:
- The parties agree to try to resolve this case through mediation. The parties understand that settlement during mediation is entirely voluntary.
- The parties understand that the mediator has no power to decide the outcome of the mediation and will not express an opinion on who is right or wrong. Rather, the mediator will try to help the parties reach their own resolution of the case by facilitating the discussion.
- The parties understand that the mediator is not going to act as an advocate or attorney for any participant and that each party has a right to have a representative during mediation.
- The parties understand that the purpose of mediation is to explore whether the parties can reach a resolution, not to gather information for a hearing or a trial.
- The parties agree not to subpoena the mediator or any observer to testify about what was said in mediation.
- The mediator and all observers agree not to voluntarily testify on behalf of any party and will not report anything said during this mediation UNLESS one of the participants makes a genuine threat of physical harm OR reveals information of: criminal activity, fraud, waste, or abuse of postal property, sexual harassment, or child or elder abuse.
- The mediation session will not be recorded by anyone (either video or audio) and no transcript of the session will be produced.
- The parties understand that any documents prepared for or during mediation (such as case summaries presented to the mediator or notes taken by the mediator) are for settlement purposes only and may not be subpoenaed for, or used in, a hearing or trial.
- The parties understand that no participant will be bound by anything said or done in mediation unless and until there is a written settlement agreement.