Mediation in North Carolina Courts
John Kirby is certified as a mediator in North Carolina by North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission. He has represented hundreds of plaintiffs and defendant at mediation in North Carolina.
Most civil cases in Superior Court in North Carolina are sent to mediation at some point. The parties first select a mediator. (In the absence of a mutually acceptable mediator, the court will select a mediator for the parties.) The mediator and the parties then schedule mediation.
Court-ordered mediation in North Carolina is subject to many statutes and regulations, most of which are beyond the scope of this webpage.
Mediation is a process in which an impartial person (the mediator) works with parties in a dispute to help them explore settlement. In mediation, the primary responsibility for the resolution of a dispute rests with the parties. The mediator encourages communication between the parties to help them to decide the terms to resolve the issues in dispute.
Unless a party is excused from attending, he must physically appear at the mediated settlement conference (i.e. a court-ordered mediation). Other people with an interest in the case (e.g. an insurance company) are required to attend. Mediation can take as little as an hour, or can last multiple days, depending on the complexity of the case and the nature of the settlement discussions.
The rules about the “confidentiality” of statements made during the mediation are somewhat complicated. In general, the parties can make statements at mediation without fear that the other side will use their statements at trial against them. The mediator is bound to keep information learned at mediation confidential.
Most mediations begin with an “opening session,” at which all of the parties and their attorneys are welcome to speak and contribute whatever they want to the process. The mediator also explains the process at this stage. The parties then typically go to separate rooms where they can speak with the mediator privately.
If a settlement is reached, then the agreement will be put in writing and is enforceable.
There are tribunals other than Superior Court that have mediation in North Carolina. The federal courts have a mediation process. The North Carolina Court of Appeals also has a voluntary mediation program.
John Kirby has received training as a mediator and is a certified mediator in North Carolina. He has appeared at hundreds of mediation in North Carolina.