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Public Law Center - Self Help Services

 

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:
  • Adoption
  • Conservatorship
  • Guardianship
  • Name Change
  • Small Claims
  • Unlawful Detainer
  • Civil Harassment
  • Appeals
  • Civil
  • Jury Service
  • Traffic
  • Juvenile
  • 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 communicate.

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.
It's confidential.
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