Resolve a dispute with the help of a neutral mediator at no cost.
Resolve an active lawsuit online.
- What is Mediation?
- What disputes may be mediated?
- Who are your mediators?
- Why choose mediation?
- How does mediation work?
- How can I schedule a mediation?
To request mediation before filing a lawsuit, please complete the mediation request form.
Online Case Resolution
If you are involved in a lawsuit and want to resolve your case before trial, please complete the Online Case Resolution form.
If you represent a business that wants to resolve a dispute, please visit our Check and Account Resolution Service.
What is Mediation? (back to top)
Mediation is a way for people to resolve problems without filing a lawsuit or going before a judge. The mediator is a neutral third party who helps the parties resolve their differences through negotiation. In mediation, you speak for yourself and make your own decisions. Mediation can help protect your privacy because, unlike a lawsuit and trial, mediation can be a confidential process. If you have a dispute regarding custody, divorce, or juvenile issues, please contact the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations and Juvenile Branch at 614-525-6640. If you are experiencing domestic violence or stalking, please call 614-645-7483 for the City Prosecutor or contact one of the following agencies.
What disputes may be mediated? (back to top)
Almost any civil dispute you might file in Municipal Court may be mediated. Commonly mediated disputes in the municipal court include:
- Unreturned security deposits
- Repairs needed
- Unpaid rent/utilities
- Property damage
- Faulty goods or services
- Fraud or misrepresentation
Property Damage and Money Disputes
- Automobile collision damage
- Personal property or real property damage
- Unpaid personal loans
- Unreturned borrowed property
- Wages, salary, commission
- Employee benefit
Who are your mediators? (back to top)
Court mediators are specially trained members of the community. Many of the mediators have extensive mediation experience.
A mediator is not a judge and does not decide if either party is “right” or “wrong.” The mediator will not force any party to accept a settlement that is not agreeable to each party. The mediator’s role is to help parties make their own decisions and agreements.
Mediators can help you reach agreements, build relationships, and find workable solutions. They have skills that help people reach positive outcomes through discussions. Additionally, mediators make sure everyone has the opportunity to speak and be heard. A mediator will not make decisions for you, provide any legal advice, or recommend the terms of an agreement.
Why choose mediation? (back to top)
- Lower Cost: Mediation is free. (A small claims lawsuit costs $78.00 to file.)
- Privacy: Mediation is private and may be confidential. In most cases, statements made during mediation cannot be used as evidence for or against you at trial.
- Control the Process: The parties, rather than a judge or magistrate, control the outcome. The parties know the facts better than anyone else and may be able to reach an agreement to resolve their dispute, which allows parties to feel better about the outcome and to retain ongoing relationships.
- More Solutions: A court cannot always provide a result that will satisfy the needs of all parties. In Small Claims Court, only money can be awarded as damages. Many non-monetary solutions to a dispute may exist; mediation provides an opportunity to explore those other solutions.
- No Risk: There is no risk in mediation. No one gives up the right to file a claim if the dispute is not resolved. You can schedule a mediation before a lawsuit is filed or while a small claims case is pending.
- Faster: The first trial date in a small claims case occurs 30-40 days after the complaint is filed. Mediation can usually be scheduled within 2-3 weeks.
How does mediation work? (back to top)
After a mediation is scheduled, the court sends notices to all parties with the date, time, and location for the mediation.
- Notices will be mailed 1-2 weeks before the mediation date.
- Mediation sessions are scheduled Monday through Friday between 9 am and 4 pm. Some Thursday evenings at 6 pm are available.
At the mediation, the parties will sit down with the mediator in private and explain the dispute as they see it and talk about how they think the matter could be resolved.
- The mediator oversees the discussion in an atmosphere of cooperation and respect.
- The parties develop solutions with their goals in mind.
- If an agreement is reached, the mediator can document the agreement for each party's signature. Each party will get a copy of the signed agreement.
How can I schedule a mediation? (back to top)
To start the mediation process, please complete the mediation request form.
If you represent a business that is looking to resolve a dispute between another business or a customer, please visit our Check and Account Resolution Service.
Mediation request forms also are available at the Small Claims Department Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The office is located at 375 South High Street on the 16th floor.
Alternatively, you may return the completed form by fax (614-645-8611) or regular mail (Franklin County Municipal Court, Attn: Mediation, 375 South High Street, 16th Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215). If you have any questions or concerns, please call 614-645-8611.
You must provide:
- Your name, address, and phone number.
- Name, address, and phone number for the other party or parties. Provide the business name if the party you want to mediate with is a business.
- The amount of money in dispute, if any.
- The general nature of the claim.