Frequently Asked Questions:
What is mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary, private dispute resolution process in which a trained mediator assists the parties in reaching an outcome that is mutually agreeable. Mediation tends to be less intimidating, take less time and cost less than arbitration or a court action, and is appropriate for almost any type of dispute.
In mediation, you work with the mediator to design a resolution of the dispute, rather than a judge or an arbitrator making the decision for you. Also, you are welcome to have legal counsel represent you at the mediation, but it is not required.
Who uses the Mediation Service?
BASF’s Mediation Services has assisted hundreds of matters to reach settlement through the years. More than half of our mediations have involved parties or counsel who have used the service in the past.
How does this compare to other private mediation providers?
BASF designed the service to answer the need for quality mediators at a reasonable rate. We have set strict educational and experience requirements and have pre-screened the mediators for you.
We charge a one-time reasonable administrative fee that not only covers the costs of running the program, professional staff assistance and case management, but also the first hour of preparation time and the first two hours of mediation time from the mediator. The rest of the mediation time is at the mediator’s hourly rate and is paid directly to the mediator.
Also, we provide biographies and hourly rates on our website. You can choose your mediator from this information or ask us to assist.
Is use limited to San Francisco cases or residents?
No, anyone can utilize the service; it is NOT limited to San Francisco issues or residents. Also, it can be used before or after a court action is filed. If legal action is already underway, mediation can be used at any stage of the litigation process and is not limited to San Francisco county courts.
This matter has already been filed in court; can we use the BASF Mediation Services?
Yes, if the matter is in the San Francisco Court, you should file the Stipulation to Alternative Dispute Resolution with the Court, checking the box for BASF Mediation Services.
Then simply file the Mediation Consent Form and administrative fee with us. NOTE: If the matter was filed in a different court, please check with that court for the appropriate process.
Who are the mediators?
Mediators on our panel have an average of 15 years of mediation experience and 125 hours of training. You can find their hourly rate for time spent beyond the first hour of preparation and the first two hours in mediation on our website at www.sfbar.org/adr-services/mediation-panelists.
How much does it cost?
A $295 per party administrative fee is paid to Mediation Services/BASF to use one of our mediators and qualify for three hours of the mediator’s time at no additional charge. This fee covers the first hour of preparation time and the first two hours of mediation time.
Additional time is paid at the mediator’s normal hourly rate.
Do the mediators get paid?
The mediators have agreed to provide the first hour of preparation and the first two hours of the mediation session at no charge as a service to BASF and the community.
The mediators are paid at their normal hourly rate, split between you and the other parties, for time spent beyond the first hour of preparation and the first two hours of mediation time.
How long is the mediation session?
The time spent in mediation will vary depending on your dispute. The mediators are dedicated to your reaching a settlement, whether you need a few hours or several days.
Can I get a refund of the BASF administrative fee?
You will receive a refund if the other side will not agree to mediation with us, less a $45 service fee. If both sides consent to mediate and pay the fee but settle or come out of the program prior to mediator assignment, you will receive a refund of 50% of the fee upon written request. Once a mediator is assigned, you can't get a refund regardless of attendance or settlement at the session.
How is the mediator chosen?
You may request a specific mediator from our website and indicate your choice on the Mediation Consent Form when you open a case, or you may ask us to assign a mediator experienced in the area of law involved in your case.
Then after a careful conflicts check, BASF will confirm the assignment. If you are not happy with the assignment you may ask for a different mediator for any reason. In any event, to qualify for the free mediator time, you must file the Consent Form and pay the administrative fee to BASF.
We are on deadline; how quickly can we mediate?
Once all parties have filed the Mediation Consent Form and paid the administrative fees, we can normally have you in touch with the mediator within a day or two. The form will ask you for any deadlines and BASF staff will give the matter top priority.
When and where is the mediation held?
Once your case is open and we have confirmed the mediator, you will work together to set a date, time and location that is convenient to everyone. Rooms are available at BASF at no charge during office hours, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Can we contact the mediators directly?
You should not go directly to the mediator before filing the Mediation Consent Form with us because you will not be entitled to the three free hours unless you come through BASF. However, once the matter has been filed with BASF, staff will provide you with the mediator’s information and you are free to contact them.
We settled at the mediation session and we have a pending San Francisco court case; how do we notify the Court?
Congratulations on the settlement! You should now file the Settlement Stipulation with the San Francisco Superior Court. If you have a matter filed in another court, you should contact that court regarding proper procedures.