US District Court • Southern District of New York


Mediation Rules & Procedures



Mediation Program Annual Reports

Mediator Evaluation Program


What is Mediation:

  • Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution.

  • In mediation, parties and counsel meet, sometimes collectively and sometimes individually, with a neutral third party (the mediator) who has been trained to facilitate confidential settlement discussions.

  • The parties articulate their respective positions and interests and generate options for a mutually agreeable resolution to the dispute.

  • The mediator assists the parties in reaching their own negotiated settlement by defining the issues, probing and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each party's legal positions, and identifying areas of agreement and disagreement.

  • The main benefits of mediation are that it can result in an expeditious and less costly resolution of the litigation, and can produce creative solutions to complex disputes often unavailable in traditional litigation.

At the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York the Mediation Program is governed by Local Civil Rule 83.9 and the Mediation Program Procedures. All civil cases other than social security, habeas corpus, and tax cases are eligible for mediation, whether assigned to Manhattan or White Plains. The assigned District Judge or Magistrate Judge may determine that a case is appropriate for mediation and may order that case to mediation, with or without the consent of the parties, before, at, or after the initial Rule 16(b) case management conference. Alternatively, the parties should notify the assigned Judge at any time of their desire to mediate.

Since 2011, counseled employment discrimination (non-FLSA) cases and certain § 1983 police misconduct claims are automatically referred to mediation when the answer is filed. The assigned District Judge or Magistrate Judge may issue a written order exempting a particular case with or without the request of the parties.

Frequently Asked Questions

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If a participant does not speak English, does the Court provide interpreters for mediation? Where do mediations take place and how are rooms reserved? Can I bring my cell phone/computer/electronic device into the Court for mediation? What if someone needs to reach me while I'm in mediation without my phone? Can people participate in mediation by phone or video conference? Can I play a DVD or videotape in mediation? How are mediators selected? Is there a transcript or can I record mediation sessions? Does the Court appoint counsel for pro se (unrepresented) litigants in mediation?