Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method used to resolve conflicts and disputes whereby communication is the caveat. Mediation can also be used to develop mutual plans and expectations about future events and/or changes that will cause an inevitable shift in one’s day to day routines. Mediation is conducted by a mediator, who is a neutral third party to the dispute and will act in an impartial manner at all times throughout the mediation process. Mediators do not give legal advice or counsel, nor do they give suggestions or force participants to reach settlements/agreements.
Mediation is voluntary and confidential. At any time during the mediation process, participants can take breaks or decide to end the session. The purpose of mediation is to provide people with a platform to discuss personal information in an environment that is safe, confidential and free of judgment. Participants are encouraged to use self-determination in the process which means that they are able to make informed decisions about how they want to interact and make decisions during the mediation. Because of the confidential nature of mediation, all participants, observers and mediators are required to sign a Consent to Mediate form which outlines what confidentiality means and references the Annotated Code of Maryland (PDF) and Judiciary Rule Title 17. Additionally it asserts that the mediators will abide by the Maryland Standards of Conduct for Mediators during mediation sessions. A copy of the standards can be found on the Maryland mediation website.