Q. What is mediation? A. Mediation means a process in which the parties work with one or more impartial mediators who assist the parties in reaching a voluntary agreement for the resolution of a dispute or issues in a dispute. There are a variety of mediation frameworks. The predominant ones are analytical, facilitative, transformative, and inclusive (community). The Maryland Program for Mediator Excellence has offered the following definitions of four frameworks. See http://www.MPMEonline.org. In analytical mediation, the mediator employs a variety of styles as the circumstances require and adjusts the process to meet the parties’ needs. In facilitative mediation, the mediator concentrates on supporting the parties in conversing constructively, in understanding each other and, if possible, to reach a satisfactory agreement. In inclusive mediation, the mediator focuses on supporting communication between the parties by listening and reflecting back the parties’ positions in a manner that captures content and intensity. In transformative mediation, the mediator focuses on helping the parties change the quality of their conflict interactions from negative to positive, as contrasted with the settlement of a specific dispute.
Q. What is neutral case evaluation? A. Neutral case evaluation means a process in which the parties appear before an impartial person and present in summary form their evidence and arguments supporting their respective positions and the impartial person gives an opinion as to the likely outcome of the dispute if litigated.
Q. What is neutral fact finding? A. Neutral fact findings means a process in which the parties appear before an impartial person and present evidence and argument supporting their respective positions as to disputed factual issues, and the impartial person makes findings of fact. The parties may agree that the findings are binding or not binding.
Q. What is a settlement conference? A. Settlement conference means a conference at which the parties appear before an impartial person to discuss the issues and positions of the parties in an effort to resolve the dispute by agreement.
Q. What is the philosophy of eylerdisputeresolution? A. Judge Eyler is familiar with all types of alternative dispute resolution. In a mediation, the mediator, through listening and asking questions, learns from the parties and their counsel all relevant information relating to issues and concerns. The mediator uses the technique or techniques that are appropriate in order to facilitate an agreement by the parties. Listening and maintaining confidentiality are crucial aspects of the process. The mediator understands the need for closure, and that includes following up as necessary after the initial conference. In other types of dispute resolution the approach and process vary, depending on the type of proceeding.
Q. What is arbitration. A. Arbitration is a process in which the parties appear before an impartial person and present evidence and argument in support of their respective positions. The impartial person then renders a decision. Prior to the proceeding, the parties may agree that the decision will be binding or non-binding.
Q. Does a party have to be represented by counsel? A. No, but Judge Eyler cannot offer legal advice. If a party is not represented by counsel, the party should undertake to be informed as possible with respect to matters relevant to the dispute. There are several resources available from which information and assistance may be obtained. They include http://www.mdcsl.org, a statewide online directory of approximately 9,000 services and programs and the judiciary’s website at http://www.mdcourts.gov. With respect to the latter, of particular relevance are the State law library at http://www.lawlib@state,md.us and http://www.peoples-law.org, both listed under “for citizens.” The judiciary’s website also contains references to Macro (mediation and conflict resolution office), under “related agencies” the District Court self help center, and services offered by the circuit courts. Finally, the State bar association offers assistance and can be accessed at http://www.msba.org under “public resources.”