FAQ: Community Mediation
SEEDS uses trained mediators to help people and entities in conflict find constructive solutions that meet everyone’s needs. Our Mediations are restorative, effective, confidential, and affordable (no one is turned away for inability to pay).
1. Can SEEDS provide legal advice or services?
No. SEEDS does not have legal expertise and cannot provide legal counsel or advice of any kind.
2. What types of conflicts does SEEDS mediate?
SEEDS handles a wide range of community conflicts including, but not limited to:
Types of conflicts SEEDS can mediate:
· Merchant/consumer transactions
· Real Estate
· Maintenance and Repairs
· Security Deposits
· Communication breakdowns
3. What kind of conflicts is SEEDS unable to mediate?
SEEDS cannot mediate if the other party does not wish to mediate or cannot be contacted.
SEEDS cannot handle cases involving significant levels or threats of violent or criminal behavior.
SEEDS cannot mediate if there is an active restraining order between the parties.
SEEDS cannot mediate child support, spousal support, or divorce paperwork (which require legal support).
4. How soon can a mediation be scheduled? How long does a mediation last? Where do they take place?
Mediations are scheduled 2-3 weeks after all parties have completed intakes
Most mediation sessions last 3 hours.
Up to 2 additional sessions can be scheduled.
Mediations take place at the SEEDS office in Berkeley or remotely via Zoom.
5. If my case is really urgent, can it be scheduled earlier than the 2-3 week period?
No. Unfortunately, SEEDS does not have capacity to schedule faster than 2-3 weeks out.
If you need a more urgent resolution, please consider contacting a private mediator.
6. How much do these services cost?
The fee depends on the type of case. Please see our community mediation page for more information!
7. If I’m in conflict and want to pursue mediation, how do I initiate the mediation process?
You can start a case online or call 510-548-2377 x110 (Monday - Thursday from 10am - 4pm) to do an intake and get your questions answered. You will need to provide contact info for other parties.
SEEDS will contact the other party/parties for intakes.
If all parties are willing to mediate, SEEDS will schedule a mediation session at least 2-3 weeks in advance (after speaking with all involved parties).
Two mediators and all parties will meet at the SEEDS office or remotely over Zoom for a 3-hour mediation session.
If things are not resolved in the first mediation session, SEEDS can offer up to two additional 3-hour mediation sessions.
Read The Community Mediation Process for more information.
You can also learn about What to Expect at Community Mediation.
8. Who provides these services?
Services are primarily provided by trained volunteers, supervised by SEEDS staff.
9. Do disputants have an option to choose the mediators who will work with them?
No, parties cannot select their mediators. If there are specific sensitivities (marginalized identities, lived experiences, power dynamics, etc.) that mediators need to be mindful of, SEEDS will take that into consideration when assigning mediators.
10. What if I know one of the mediators assigned to my case?
If you discover that you know one of the mediators from another context and are uncomfortable with them mediating your case, you can decide not to continue with the mediation and SEEDS will reschedule.