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Small Claims Mediation

Small Claims Court Mediations

When you file a claim in Snohomish County (Cascade, Everett, Evergreen or South Division), Island County or Skagit County, your first date of appearance at court will be for a mediation session. You do not need to contact the Dispute Resolution Center prior, mediators will be automatically provided for your mediation session at the courthouse. If you have questions about filing your court paperwork or the court process, you will need to contact the appropriate District Court.

What to expect the day of your mediation hearing:

The judge will give opening remarks about the mediation process and why it’s beneficial to participate fully in the process. The judge will call through the calendar and in cases where both parties to a case are present, they will be sent to mediation.

Mediators will escort you to a mediation room where one mediator will deliver some additional information that will help you make the most of the mediation process. Mediators will help you negotiate your case to see if a satisfactory resolution can be reached. All settlements are legally binding and protect both parties. There is no risk to settling your case. If either party breaks the contract, the other can request a trial before a judge.

How to prepare:

Bring all documentation to mediation that you will be presenting at trial. This allows all parties to make an informed decision based on what will be presented at trial.

Witnesses are not necessary at mediation and will be asked to wait outside of the mediation. Witnesses only participate in mediation if all the parties listed in the dispute agree to have the witness participate.

The mediation process:

Mediators are neutral 3rd parties and do not give legal advice or recommend how to resolve your case. The mediators are highly trained and will guide you through a process that will allow each party an opportunity to share the views and options for resolving your case. Once a mutually satisfying agreement has been reached the mediator will write out your agreement which captures the details of your settlement.

The mediation process is confidential. Requests and offers are protected by confidentiality. Once you go to trial the judge will not hear offers made in mediation. This allows you to be creative and flexible when making offers to resolve the case.

Possible outcomes:

There are 3 possible outcomes on the day of your mediation.

  • You reach a settlement and you file your agreement with the clerk. This is not a judgment.
  • If you’re working well together in mediation but you don’t have all of the necessary information to settle that day, you can schedule a second mediation at no charge to come back together and work toward a settlement.
  • If after meeting with a mediator you find you need the judge to hear your case, you can schedule a trail date with the clerk.

For self help materials regarding small claims court, visit: washingtonlawhelp.org