Frequently Asked Questions
- What is mediation?
- What types of cases are referred to mediation?
- When will the mediation conference be held?
- Are there any costs for mediation?
- How many hours will the mediation conference last?
- Who is required to attend a mediation conference?
- Are there any forms that must be sent to the mediator prior to a mediation session?
- What is the role of the mediator?
- Are court approved mediators trained and experienced in mediation?
- Are there any Court Rules pertaining to mediation?
- How do I get my name on the Court's list of approved mediators?
- Who may I contact at the Court regarding the civil mediation program?
Q. What is mediation?
A. Mediation is a process in which a trained neutral person, called a "mediator," helps people in a dispute communicate with one another, understand each other and, if possible, reach agreements that satisfy everyone's needs.
Q. What types of cases are referred to mediation?
A. The court currently refers most contract, personal injury and workers' compensation cases to a mediator. All medical malpractice and Business and Technology cases are referred to mediation. Automobile accident and property cases are not referred to mediation unless requested by a party. At least one party on each side to the dispute must be represented by an attorney for the case to be referred to mediation.
Q. When will the mediation conference be held?
A. In most cases, the mediation deadline is 180 days from the issuance of the Scheduling Order. In expedited mediation cases the deadline is 60 days. The session must be held prior to the deadline. Attorneys are required to contact the mediator listed on the Scheduling Order within 15 days of receipt of the Order to schedule a mutually agreed date for the mediation conference. The deadline for completing mediation may only be extended by agreement of all parties and upon approval of the Administrative Judge. All requests to extend the mediation deadline must be submitted in writing with a proposed Order.
Q. Are there any costs for mediation?
A. Yes, the court has currently set the mediator fee at $200 per hour. The cost of mediation is divided equally between the parties. For example, if there are two Defendants and one Plaintiff and the mediation lasted a full two hours, the cost of mediation will be $133.33 per party.
Q. How many hours will the mediation conference last?
A. The court has set a maximum of two hours for a mediation conference. All parties may agree to extend the mediation conference for a longer period of time. The mediation can end after less than two hours if the parties and mediator agree that no more progress is likely.
Q. Who is required to attend a mediation conference?
A. All attorneys, claims adjusters and all parties with settlement authority are required to attend the mediation conference in person. The mediator has the discretion to allow a party to participate by phone if attendance will be a hardship on the party.
Q. Are there any forms that must be sent to the mediator prior to a mediation session?
A. Yes. Attorneys must fully prepare the Mediation Conference Statement form and send it to the assigned mediator at least five days prior to the scheduled mediation conference.
Q. What is the role of the mediator?
A. All court-appointed mediators are skilled professionals trained to help the parties identify issues, create an orderly environment for exploring interests, facilitate problem-solving and help the negotiations between the parties stay on track. The mediator will seek to give the parties the means and opportunity to resolve their dispute on their own. The mediator should never provide any legal advice, advocate for one side of the dispute or pressure a party or parties into reaching an agreement.
Q. Are court approved mediators trained and experienced in mediation?
A. Yes, all court approved mediators must have 40 hours of approved mediation training prior to their appointment as mediators. All mediators must also complete four hours of continuing training every calendar year after their appointment.
Q. Are there any Court Rules pertaining to mediation?
A. Title 17 of the Maryland Rules of Civil Procedure governs ADR procedures in the State. There are also references to scheduling of ADR procedures in Rules 2-504 and 2-504.1. See Maryland Rules of Civil Procedure on the State online Law Library.
Q. How do I get my name on the Court's list of approved mediators?
A. You must fill out a mediator application form. A form can be obtained at: www.mdcourts.gov/macro/becomingmediator.html and submit it to the Court Administrator's Office at the County Courts Building, 401 Bosley Avenue, Towson, Maryland 21204.
A. Kemi Gefu, Civil ADR Administrator
Revised November 4, 2013