What we provide
The Public Law Center provides information to people who are not
represented by attorneys and who have any number of general and
substantive legal issues, including, but not limited to:
- Name Change
- Small Claims
- Unlawful Detainer
- Civil Harassment
- Jury Service
- Probate/Estate Planning
- Modification of probation
- Petition for Change of Plea and Dismissals
- Neighbor/Real Estate Disputes
Information is available in the form of books, packets,
brochures, computer forms, and on-line research and links. Alternate
Dispute Resolution (ADR) is offered as an alternative to
litigation. A Small Claims Advisor is available to answer
questions about small claims actions.
Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR)
The Center also provides information and education on alternatives
to civil litigation, such as mediation (negotiating a
resolution to a dispute with the aid of a neutral facilitator known
as a mediator) and arbitration (submitting the case to
a trier of fact known as an arbitrator who hears evidence and
decides the outcome of the case, much like a judge). These methods
of conflict resolution are commonly referred to as "Alternative
Dispute Resolution" or "ADR." Both mediation and
arbitration are less formal and usually faster and less expensive
methods of conflict resolution than litigation.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is an alternative method for working out differences and
creating agreements acceptable to everyone, facilitated by an
experienced, neutral mediator who helps the disputing parties
Mediation is a way to reach a voluntary agreement with the help of a
neutral persona, who is specially trained to solve disputes where
the parties and/or their attorneys have been unable to reach
agreement. It can help both parties improve communication and
explore options for settling disputes.
How does Mediation work?
First, the Mediator explains the process to the parties and gets
background information, and if they agree to mediate, sets up a time
and place for the mediation session.
During the session, each party tells their side of the story, with
the mediator helping clarify each viewpoint so it is heard and
understood by the other party. The mediator helps the participants
identify the basic components of the conflict, and state their own
interests and needs.
During the mediation, the Mediator will help balance the discussion,
as each party takes turns talking about the issues. The mediator
will not force the parties to settle in a particular way. Instead,
the mediator will assist both parties to resolve the dispute in
terms of each party's needs and interests. The agreements reached
through mediation are not limited to what the law would require and
can more easily accommodate the special circumstances of each case.
Once the basic issues have been determined, the discussion focuses
on options, and the mediator helps each side negotiate to come up
with an agreement that works for both of them. Agreements may be
written or oral, binding or non-binding.
How does Mediation differ from going to court?
It usually costs less.
It's usually quicker.
Decisions are made by the parties involved, not a third party.
It promotes the cooperation and communication.
If you are interested in considering mediation as an alternative
to litigation, the public law center staff will be happy to schedule
mediation for you using court-approved mediators. The Public Law
Center will explain the mediation process to you and the opposing
party, coordinate the selection of a mediator and schedule the
mediation on a date that works for both parties. Please call the
Conflict Resolution Center at (530) 477-6517 for more information.
For Family Law Matters, click here