September 1, 2014


A Landlord and a tenant, a customer and a business owner or neighbors on the same street; through these relationships we shop, live, converse and sell.  These relations form our community.  In relationships there are a set of expectations we believe will be followed by those in the relationship.  Inevitably, conflict occurs.  Each situation is different, but the cause is the same:  an expectation was not met.  We often do not understand why things went wrong and feelings of resentment develop.  A breakdown in the relationship occurs and we search for restoration and for justice.

The Community Mediation Program is an opportunity for people in conflict to sit down, discuss their dispute and together discover their own solution.  With the help of a trained mediator, many people can find common ground without the need of a trial.  The mediation process empowers the parties to decide the outcome of their dispute and attempts to repair the broken relationship.  Mediation is not in opposition to the legal system.  It works alongside it, helping people resolve their conflicts without becoming enemies, an effective alternative.

Community Mediation Referrals

Currently, there are three avenues by which referrals are being received to CMP:

  • Directly from the disputing parties
  • During Small Claims Court Hearings held in Elkhart County Superior Courts V and VI
  • Through partnership with the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department and the Goshen City Police Department

What Kinds Of Cases Are Referred To Community Mediation?

  • Landlord/Tenant conflicts
  • Client/Business conflicts
  • Neighborhood disputes
  • Employer/Employee disputes
  • Multi-party and Group conflicts

Community Mediation Fee Schedule
The Center for Community Justice is committed to serving all community members regardless of ability to pay.  We will adjust our fees if either party is under financial distress.  We use the federal poverty guidelines as our basis for the sliding fee scale.  Please contact CCJ to inquire about fee adjustments.

Program Fees

Amount Paid by Covers
Individual/Small Group $75 each party First 2 hours:  total time spent for mediator
Business $200 business First 2 hours:  total time spent for mediator

Additional Fees (incurred after first two hours of time spent)

Additional Fee per Hour Paid by Covers
$75 each party Total time spent by mediator
$100 business Total time spent by mediator

Fees are applied dependent on the referral source.

  • All mediation referrals made during Small Claims Court are free of charge to the disputing parties.  This was made possible through funding from Elkhart County Superior Courts V and VI. 
  • Fees are applied to any referrals made directly from disputing parties and the Goshen City Police Department.
  • Mediation Referrals that come from the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department are partially underwritten by ECSD.  This means that there may be mediation services billed directly to the parties, and ECSD will assist in financing these services.  CCJ is honored that the Sheriff’s Department is supportive in our efforts to continue to offer mediation services to the community at an affordable charge.
Small Claims FY 2011-12 FY 2012-13 FY 2013-14 FY 2014-15
Total Persons Served: 217 185 219 173
# of Mediations: 87 75 85 68
% Reaching Agreement: 57.47% 56.00% 61.00% 62.00%
# of Trials Avoided: 50 42 52 42
Adjusted Stats: Mediation Referrals Only for last 3 Fiscal Years
Community Mediation FY 2011-12 FY 2012-13 FY 2013-14 FY 2014-15
Total Persons Served: 72 194 227 231
Total Referrals: 34 66 85 70
     ECSD: 28 58 80 65
     Goshen PD: 5 5 2 1
     Community: 1 3 3 4
# Mediations: 4 13 12 5
% Closed Successfully: 75% 84% 88% 87%

Volunteering With CMP
CMP depends on the hard work of volunteers from the Elkhart County community. Volunteer mediators play a critical role in facilitating face-to-face meetings between parties in conflict. If you are interested in learning more about volunteering with CMP, please contact CCJ and ask for more information about our volunteer mediator trainings.

Training Opportunities
CCJ staff members are always excited and willing to provide trainings to various groups in the community. We have presented at churches, human resource departments, schools and universities, not-for-profit agencies, and many other community groups. Our knowledgeable staff can tailor trainings specific to your needs. Some of the topics we have covered include restorative justice principles, communication skills, conflict theory and styles, and handling our own anger in conflict. All trainings are offered fee for service. Please contact CCJ Kelly Neff to inquire about our trainings.

Kelly Sauder-Neff
Community Mediation Program Coordinator
(574) 295-6149 ext. 251