(a) Definitions: Mediation is a supervised settlement conference presided over by a qualified, certified and neutral mediator to promote conciliation, compromise and the ultimate settlement of a civil action.
The mediator is an attorney, certified by the chief judge in accordance with these rules, who possesses the unique skills required to facilitate the mediation process including the ability to suggest alternatives, analyze issues, question perceptions, use logic, conduct private caucuses, stimulate negotiations between opposing sides and keep order.
The mediation process does not allow for testimony of witnesses. The mediator does not review or rule upon questions of fact or law, or render any final decision in the case. Absent a settlement, the mediator will report only to the presiding judge as to whether the case settled, was adjourned for further mediation (by agreement of the parties), or that the mediator declared an impasse.
(b) Purpose: It is the purpose of the Court, through adoption and implementation of this rule, to provide an alternative mechanism for the resolution of civil disputes (a Court annexed, mandatory mediation procedure) leading to disposition before trial of many civil cases with resultant savings in time and costs to the litigants and to the Court, but without sacrificing the quality of justice to be rendered or the right of the litigants to a full trial in the event of an impasse following mediation.