(a) Completion of Mediation. Mediation shall be completed within 45 days of the first mediation conference unless extended by order of the court or by stipulation of the parties.
(b) Exclusions from Mediation. A civil action shall be ordered to mediation or mediation in conjunction with arbitration upon stipulation of the parties. A civil action may be ordered to mediation or mediation in conjunction with arbitration upon motion of any party or by the court, if the judge determines the action to be of such a nature that mediation could be of benefit to the litigants or the court. Under no circumstances may the following categories of actions be referred to mediation:
(1) Bond estreatures.
(2) Habeas corpus and extraordinary writs.
(3) Bond validations.
(4) Civil or criminal contempt.
(5) Other matters as may be specified by administrative order of the chief judge in the circuit.
(c) Discovery. Unless stipulated by the parties or ordered by the court, the mediation process shall not suspend discovery.
1994 Amendment. The Supreme Court Committee on Mediation and Arbitration Rules encourages crafting a combination of dispute resolution processes without creating an unreasonable barrier to the traditional court system.