Tips For Your Court Date

If you have any questions about your legal rights, consult an attorney before your court date.

Bring to court any documentation you deem necessary to present your case, regardless of your intent to mediate or present your case to the Judge in a trial.

If you are unfamiliar with the court directions and setting, you may consider visiting the court on an earlier date to observe its workings. Civil court is apublic matter, and you may observe without having a case on the docket for a given day.

Arrive early. Courthouse buildings may be confusing to newcomers. Furthermore, arriving early may afford you the opportunity to hear about mediation in more detail and take advantage of beginning your case before the docket is called.

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Civil Court Mediation: General District Court and Small Claims Court


Resolve your court case through mediation!

What Is Mediation?

Mediation lets you take control of your own dispute and it lets you and the other person decide what seems the best result for both of you.

Mediation gives you a chance to talk about what is really important to you, and a chance to listen to what is really important to the other person.

Mediation brings an impartial third person in to direct your attention back to solving the problem.

How Does Mediation Work?

First, the mediator will set a few simple rules:

  • People talk only to the mediator
  • People talk one at a time
  • People treat the process and each other respectfully

Next, each party will be given an opportunity to speak uninterrupted, about what the conflict means to him.

Then, the mediator will help all of the participants look at what is really important about the conflict and what some creative ways of resolving it might be.

Finally, if the participants decide that they can settle the dispute, the mediator helps them write down what they have agreed to.

Can I Go Back To Court?

Returning to court is always an option for you, whether you choose to mediate or not.

If you don't resolve all of the issues of your dispute, you can go to court on your trial date and ask that the unresolved issues be heard.

If you do reach a mediated agreement, you can ask that the judge enter the agreement as an order and dismiss your case.

The process is free to parties on their court dates in Small Claims Court in Fairfax County, Arlington County, Loudoun County and the City of Falls Church and in General District Court in Loudoun County, Arlington County, and Fairfax County. Private mediation may be arranged through our office for other cases.

For questions about resolving your court case through mediation, please see our Civil Court Mediation FAQ page or contact