Mediation is the attempt to reach an agreement between two or more parties in a legal dispute. A mediator acts as a neutral non-interested attorney to find common ground for the parties to agree upon. When a civil complaint is filed in Vermont Superior Court, Rule 16.3 of the Vermont rules of civil procedure states that the parties must proceed with mediation prior to taking their case to trial.
When is mediation required?
Customarily, mediation occurs within one year of the complaint being filed with the court. The date is typically determined by an agreed upon schedule between the parties/council, however, on some occasions, an order is issued directly from the judge.
Who performs mediation?
To become a Vermont civil mediator, you do not have to be a licensed attorney that is currently admitted to the Vermont bar. Most civil mediators are licensed attorneys as their experience in civil litigation serves as a solid foundation to evaluating the cases they are assigned to mediate.
What is the cost?
The state of Vermont provides mediation subsidies for certain types of mediations that are income based. In all other cases, the cost of mediation is based upon the agreed mediator’s hourly fee schedule. This cost is split evenly between the parties.
What should I look for in a mediator?
A good mediator has extensive and diverse experience in civil litigation. They will be someone who is concise, and is focused on working as efficiently as possible to find a middle ground that both parties can accept. A good mediator will also be someone who is honest and straightforward, presenting the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s case in an objective and direct manner, in an effort to articulate the many unknowns that could arise should the case proceed to trial.