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alternative dispute resolution

Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)

Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) is a voluntary process for resolving disputes with the help of a neutral third party, called a mediator. The information you provide through your negotiation or mediation is secure and confidential; however, any agreement you come to will be made a part of the public record. The mediator will not provide legal advice, evaluate your case, or make any decision or judgment for you. However, the mediator will help you and the other party focus on reaching an agreement that is acceptable to all parties involved in the dispute. If you reach a settlement agreement, an agreement will be created and filed automatically with the Court, eliminating the necessity of you having to appear in Court for your trial.

You may participate in ODR before your Court appearance date by providing your email address to the Court at least 20 days before your scheduled hearing. When the Court receives both parties’ email addresses your case will automatically be forwarded to the ODR program. Once the plaintiff initiates the process, the defendant will have the opportunity to opt in and the ODR process can begin. Please add the ODR program email address “” to your contacts to ensure your invitation does not go to spam.

Click here to Request Small Claims Online Dispute Resolution


You have the option of conducting a remote mediation (i.e., via telephone or videoconference) prior to your hearing to try to settle your case. Mediation is a confidential process in which a neutral person works with the parties to try to find a solution that works for everyone. You are not required to reach an agreement, and it is entirely up to you whether to agree to any specific terms. For more information please call (408) 828-8547  or email at

About mediation:

  • The Court partners with highly trained, and experienced volunteer mediators to provide this free mediation opportunity.
  • Mediators are completely neutral: they are not there to decide who is right or wrong, only to help you and the others on your case reach a settlement that works for everyone.
  • Mediations are confidential: anything that is said in mediation cannot be used against you during your hearing if you do not settle your case in mediation. Any agreement you reach will not be made part of the public record, unless everyone agrees.

Benefits of Mediation

  • If you settle, you can avoid having to come to Court for your hearing
  • Mediation allows for more, possibly better options to resolve your case than a hearing and judgment
  • If you are the plaintiff, it is much more likely that the defendant will voluntarily follow through with the terms of a settlement they agreed to than a Court order
  • Because mediation is confidential you have the opportunity to hear the other person’s side, so if you don’t settle you can be better prepared for your hearing
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