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What is Mediation

Using mediation, two or more people can resolve a dispute informally with the help of a neutral third person, called the mediator, and avoid expensive litigation.  Mediators have training in conflict resolution.


Mediation is used in dispute resolution programs and in victim-offender reconciliation programs.  It is used at both pretrial and post-trial stages of criminal and civil complaints.


Unlike a judge or an arbitrator, the mediator will not decide the outcome of the case. The mediator's job is to help the parties resolve the problem through a process that encourages each side to:

  • air disputes

  • identify the strengths and weaknesses of their case

  • understand that accepting less than expected is the hallmark of a fair settlement

  • agree on a satisfactory solution


The primary goal is for all parties to work out a solution they can live with and trust. Because the mediator has no authority to impose a decision, nothing will be decided unless both parties agree to it. The process focuses on solving problems in an economical manner.

That's not to say that the merits of the case aren't factored into the analysis.  They are factored in.  The mediator helps the parties assess the case and identify the strengths and weaknesses of each side.  Then, they work toward an agreement that both parties are comfortable with, thereby avoiding the risk of faring worse in a decision by a judge or jury. 



Any type of problem can be solved through mediation. Some disputes or personal issues can be resolved in mediation without the need to initiate a lawsuit.  When litigation has commenced, courts may require mediation, and for a good reason—it works. Examples of cases appropriate for mediation include a:

  • family law issue

  • personal injury matter

  • small business dispute

  • real estate dispute

  • contractor claim

  • estate probate dispute

The length of time it will take to solve the problem in mediation often depends upon the complexity of the case. Somewhat straightforward cases may resolve in one mediation session.  More complicated cases might require a few mediation sessions. If the mediation doesn't settle the case, either side can file a lawsuit or continue pursuing the current case.





As stated on the CACJ website, the CACJ has paid and volunteer mediators.  Some of them mediate community disputes and others have specialized training in more comprehensive matters such as victim/offender and child custody.



Community Conferencing is a program under the Center for Alternatives in Community Justice (CACJ) and in collaboration with Centre Peace.

As stated on the Community Conferencing website, conferencing is voluntary process of intentional dialogue between any number of individuals directly impacted by a conflict, dispute, or crime. The goal of a community conference is for all participants to reach a beneficial resolution. The conference process can create a space for healing, restoration, and transformation.


Community Conferencing Offers Three Tracks:

  1. Community Conflict Resolution

    • Neighbors, co-workers, and community members can resolve disputes, conflicts, or even crimes and create their own resolutions, thus reducing the involvement of law enforcement or the legal system.

  2. Court Diversion

    • Those who have committed a crime take responsibility for their actions, and work with the person(s) they have harmed to repair the harm and prevent it from happening in the future. This restorative alternative also provides those who have been harmed with an opportunity to speak their truth and be heard. Court Diversion can help participants to avoid the costs and time associated with traditional legal systems.

  3. Citizen Reentry

    • Formerly incarcerated individuals make peace with loved ones, rebuild support systems, and transition back into the community

The Role of the Mediator

Types of Problems Solved

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