Judiciary Volunteer Mediators Wanted for Municipal Courts
Vicinage XV Municipal Courts ask for volunteers to act as mediators for local municipal courts.
Handling more than 250,000 cases a year, the Vicinage XV Municipal Courts are calling for volunteers to serve as mediators in local municipal courts throughout Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties.
Applications are being accepted through March 29. Vicinage Municipal Division Manager Carole Cummings explains that applicant can request a certain municipality, but may be assigned to more than one panel, if they are available to do so. Panels consist of anywhere from one to five people assigned to a certain municipality or municipalities, as some counties are regionalized.
Governed by New Jersey court rules, all applicants will have to go through a screening and background check in order to participate. Training for all volunteers will be provided by the Judiciary, free of charge, and consists of a mandatory 18 hours. After completing the 18 hours, volunteers will take a re-training course every year, but only for four hours. Training will consist of refining communication skills, setting up mediation and learning the process.
“They facilitate conversation and discussion of issues,” says Cummings.
Mediators are used by municipal courts to help both sides reach a mutual agreement without going to court. Unlike a judge, the mediator does not decide the case, but rather furthers discussion between the two parties without favoring any particular side. In working with a mediator both parties in a case are encouraged to come to an agreement they can both accept.
As mediators, Cummings says the vicinage is looking for volunteers who possess good communication skills. In addition, they are seeking those who deal well with diversity and are committed to spending lengths of time with people in order to attain a resolution.
Both day and evening sessions are available for volunteers.
For questions, residents are asked to contact Cummings at 856-853-3482. Those who are interested in applying can do so by contacting Human Resources at 856-453-4369 or Municipal Division at 856-853-3482.