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Joyette Holmes
Chief Magistrate

Deena Fincher

Tahnicia Phillips
Clerk of Court

32 Waddell Street
Marietta, GA 30090

(770) 528-8900
(770) 528-8947 fax

Cobb County Government
100 Cherokee Street
Marietta, GA 30090

(770) 528-1000
(770) 528-2490 fax

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Magistrate Court - Mediation

On March 28, 1994, the Cobb County Magistrate Court became the first court in Georgia to implement a volunteer mediation program for small claims cases.  Since that time, the program has expanded to allow for the mediation of dispossessory cases and warrant applications.  Participating mediators are state registered by the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution under the Georgia Supreme Court

Mediation is a process by which a Neutral facilitates settlement discussions between parties.  The Neutral has no authority to make a decision or impose a settlement upon the parties.  The Neutral attempts to focus the attention of the parties upon their needs and interests rather than upon rights and positions.  In the absence of a settlement, the parties are still eligible to appear before a judge to plead their case.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What Are the Benefits of Mediation?

A. Mediation allows you to control your own dispute and resolve the problem yourself rather than having a judge decide it for you. Mediation is also fast and cost effective. There is no additional cost to participate in the mediation program. In a mediation session, everyone has the opportunity to voice their concerns and the privilege of speaking without interruption.

Q. What is the Mediator's Role?

A. The mediator does not act in the capacity of an attorney and is not an advocate for either party.  The mediator facilitates discussions and assists parties in reaching an agreement.  The mediator shall at all times remain neutral, unbiased, and shall act in good faith.

Q. What evidence should be brought to mediation?

A. During mediation, parties should exchange any evidence that might potentially be presented to a judge at trial (i.e. pictures, contracts, lease agreements, etc.).  If a settlement agreement is not reached and the parties proceed to trial, evidence that has not first been viewed by the other party will not be considered by the judge.

Q. Are witnesses allowed?

A. Witnesses should be kept to a minimum, as mediation is not an advocacy or fact-establishing forum.  Witnesses are allowed at the discretion of the Mediator and the opposing party. 

Q. Is mediation confidential?

A. Information gathered during the mediation session is confidential and privileged.  Any settlement offers discussed in mediation shall not be presented to the judge.  In addition, neither the mediator nor any court designee shall willingly testify for or against either party involved, should either party end the mediation process and litigate the matter in court. 

Q. Is their a cost for mediation?

A. Mediation for the Cobb County Magistrate Court is voluntary and free.  The program initially received a $20,000 grant from the Georgia Commission on Alternative Dispute Resolution to cover start-up costs. In addition, a portion of the fee collected for each claim filed is designated for the purpose of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).  As such, the Court is able to offer the assistance of highly trained mediators to parties who are willing to attempt settlement prior to trial at no cost to either party.

Q. How are mediations scheduled?

A. On days when civil court is in session, mediators will be available to assist parties with the facilitation of negotiations prior to trial.  If a settlement agreement is not reached, the parties will return to the courtroom to present their case to a magistrate judge.  On days when civil court is not in session, the Mediation Office will hold special set mediations for parties interested in trying to settle their case prior to their court date.  The number for the Mediation Office is (770) 528-8935.