History On May 23, 2005, the General Assembly adopted legislation establishing a mediation program for matters referred to mediation by clerks of superior court. Rules implementing the new legislation were adopted by the Supreme Court of North Carolina effective March 1, 2006.
Program Summary A clerk may refer any eligible matter to mediation, including guardianship, estate, and boundary and partition disputes. Some matters are not eligible for referral, including adoptions and foreclosures.
The parties my designate a mediator of their own choosing or, it they can’t agree on a mediator or take no action to select one, the clerk will appoint a mediator. The mediator will work with the parties and any attorneys involved to schedule the mediation within the deadline for completion of mediation set by the clerk. At mediation, the mediator will sit down with the parties to help them discuss their dispute and to brainstorm options for settlement. A mediator is not a judge and will not make any decisions for the parties. If mediation is successful, the parties’ agreement will be put into writing. If the matter being mediated involves a dispute in which the clerk must approve the outcome, for example, a dispute over guardianship, the agreement must be submitted to the clerk for review. If an agreement cannot be reached in mediation, the mediator will advise the clerk and the matter will proceed to a hearing.