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Small Claims - Mediation

When Mediation Occurs

After the plaintiff files a case and the defendant responds requesting a hearing, the court will schedule a pre-trial conference. At the pre-trial conference, the case may be referred to mediation. You will be given a mediation date and time at the pre-trial conference. 

Mediation Process

  1. If the amount in dispute is $5000 or less, mediation is voluntary and the judicial officer will offer you mediation at the pre-trial conference.
  2. If the amount in dispute is $5,000 or more, mediation is mandatory, and the judicial officer will refer the case to mediation at the pre-trial conference. 
  3. Once referred to mediation, the mediation will most likely occur on the same day as the pre-trial conference. 
  4. The mediation starts with the mediator explaining the process and the ground rules for participation. You can find the ground rules in the Mediation Participation Agreement. The mediator will help you discuss the issues in the case with the other party. 
  5. Mediation can take between thirty (30) minutes and two (2) hours

Outcomes

At the conclusion of your mediation session, the following may occur: 

  1. Full Agreement: You and the other party have come to an agreement on all the issues. The mediator will draft the written agreement and send it to you and the other party to review. If the agreement is satisfactory, you must sign the agreement and file it with the court. The mediator may, if they choose to, help you file the agreement, but it is your responsibility to send a signed copy of the agreement to the court. Once signed, the agreement will be presented to a judge. If the judge approves it, the agreement will become a court order. 
  2. Partial Agreement: You and the other party have come to an agreement on some of the issues but continuing mediation would not be helpful. The mediator will draft a written agreement for those issues you came to an agreement on, and send it to you and the other party to review. If the agreement is satisfactory, you must sign the agreement and file it with the court. The mediator may, if they choose to, help you file the agreement, but it is your responsibility to send a signed copy of the agreement to the court. The court will then schedule the next event and you will receive a notice. 
  3. No agreement: The mediator will notify the court that you and the other party did not reach an agreement. 

Cost of Mediation

Mediation is free. Mediators are paid through the Office of Mediation and Arbitration. 

Preparing for Mediation

Fill out the mediation prep sheet (under Forms below) to help you think through what will be discussed during mediation. The form is for your eyes only.

Laws, Rules and Procedures

Forms

Questions?

General small claims questions: 1-855-212-1234
Mediation questions: mediation@courts.state.nh.us

Let us know how mediation worked for you: www.surveymonkey.com/r/NHMediation