7A-38.7. Dispute resolution fee for cases referred to mediation.

(a) In each criminal case filed in the General Court of Justice that is referred to a community mediation center, a dispute resolution fee shall be assessed in the sum of sixty dollars ($60.00) per mediation of that criminal case, in accordance with subsection (c) of this section, to support the services provided by the community mediation centers and the Mediation Network of North Carolina. Prior to mediation, the court shall cause the mediation participants to be informed that the dispute resolution fee shall be paid as part of any mediation of a criminal case. The fee shall be paid to the clerk in advance of the mediation. Fees assessed under this section shall be paid to the clerk of superior court in the county where the case was filed and remitted by the clerk to the Mediation Network of North Carolina. The Mediation Network may retain up to three dollars ($3.00) of this amount as an allowance for its administrative expenses. The Mediation Network must remit the remainder of this amount to the community mediation center that mediated the case. The court may waive or reduce a fee assessed under this section only upon entry of a written order, supported by findings of fact and conclusions of law, determining there is just cause to grant the waiver or reduction.

(b) Before providing the district attorney with a dismissal form, the community mediation center shall require proof that the defendant has paid the dispute resolution fee as required by subsection (a) of this section and shall attach the receipt to the dismissal form.

(c) All related criminal charges per defendant that are subject to mediation shall be treated as a single criminal case for the purpose of calculating the sixty-dollar ($60.00) dispute resolution fee. In advance of the mediation, the participants, including all complainants, defendants, and other parties to the mediation, shall discuss whether the dispute resolution fee shall be allocated between them. If the participants do not reach agreement on an allocation of the dispute resolution fee, then the fee shall be the responsibility of the defendant, unless the court waives or reduces the fee upon entry of a written order, supported by findings of fact and conclusions of law, determining there is just cause to waive or reduce the fee. In connection with any mediation subject to this section, no mediator or any other community mediation center volunteer or employee shall receive any payment directly from any participant in the mediation, regardless of whether the payment is a dispute resolution fee, cost of court, restitution, or any other fee required by law or court order. No mediator or community mediation center shall charge or collect any fees for mediating criminal cases other than the dispute resolution fee assessed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section. (2002-126, s. 29A.11(a); 2003-284, s. 13.13; 2011-145, s. 31.24(d); 2012-142, s. 16.6(a); 2016-107, s. 9.)