Information for Parties Without Attorneys
Due to COVID-19, court-ordered mediations under DRC programs shall be conducted remotely. If the mediator, all parties, and any other persons required to attend agree to waive the requirement to conduct a remote mediation, and comply with all federal, state and local safety guidelines that have been issued, they may conduct the mediation in person. Rule 4 of the MSC, FFS and Clerk Rules and Rule 5 of the DCC Rules provide that a mediation shall be conducted via electronic means. With the agreement of all parties, and ability to comply with safety guidelines, the parties may conduct the mediation in person. The parties may also seek an order from the court to conduct the mediation in person. If all parties do not consent to hold the mediation in person, and absent an order from the court, the matter shall be held through remote technology.
*Nothing in the Rules prohibits a mediator from establishing stricter health requirements for a mediation conference.
*Any mediation conducted in person shall be done in strict compliance with all executive orders and social distancing requirements. All parties to the mediation shall use appropriate social distancing practices and safety procedures. The NCDRC recommends all parties follow the three W’s: wear a cloth face covering, wait 6 feet apart and avoid close contact, and wash your hands often. Please stay informed of all local and state policies that are in place to ensure best practices are followed.
This information is designed to assist pro se parties—those unrepresented by an attorney—who will be attending a court-referred mediated settlement conference by linking to resources that, hopefully, will provide a basic understanding of the mediation process and some tools to assist in that process.
If you are unfamiliar with the law and legal proceedings, it could be difficult to represent yourself at a mediation. This may be particularly true and you may be at a disadvantage if the other party has an attorney. For these reasons, the Commission strongly urges all parties to seek legal counsel for the mediation. The Commission, however, also recognizes that sometimes a party cannot afford, or for other reasons, chooses not to hire an attorney.
If you will be participating in a mediation without an attorney, please be aware that while the mediator will do his or her best to ensure a civil and full discussion of the issues, s/he cannot give legal advice to anyone participating in the conference.
If your case is a civil case pending in superior court which has been referred to a mediated settlement conference, choose the Mediated Settlement Conference (MSC) Program for useful program information. Other links on the MSC Program page offer additional information, such as a program brochure, program rules, and program statistics.
If your case is a family financial case that has been referred to a mediated settlement conference in District Court, choose the Family Financial Program (FFS), for useful program information. Other links on the FFS Program page can offer additional information, such as a program brochure, program rules, and program statistics.
Commission staff are available to answer questions you may have. Call the Commission at (919) 890-1415, or email us at DRCMediators@nccourts.org.