ADA
civil adr Providers

ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) is a process in which a neutral person helps people who cannot agree, so that they can resolve their case.

ADR is designed to take place as early as possible in the life of a case, to provide an opportunity to settle all or part of the case and keep litigation expense to a minimum.

Parties in a civil case can use a mediator, neutral evaluator, arbitrator, or settlement conference neutral for assistance in resolving a case. In some programs, ADR providers determine their own fee for their services.

Types of Civil ADR available:

Mediation:

Mediation is an informal, confidential, flexible and non-binding process in which the mediator helps the parties to understand the interests of everyone involved, and their practical and legal choices. The mediator helps the parties to:

  • communicate better,
  • explore legal and practical settlement options, and
  • reach an acceptable solution of the problem.

The mediator does not decide the solution to the dispute; the parties do. Mediators are allowed to charge for their time.

To view a brief slideshow presentation on the mediation process, go to: How to Settle Your Dispute without Going to Trial.

Neutral evaluation

Neutral evaluation, sometimes called “early neutral evaluation” or “ENE”, is an informal process in which the evaluator, an experienced neutral lawyer:  

  • hears a compact presentation of the case from both sides,
  • gives a non-binding assessment of the strengths and weaknesses on each side, and
  • predicts the likely outcome.

The evaluator can help parties to identify issues, prepare stipulations, and draft discovery plans. The parties may use the evaluation to discuss settlement. Evaluators are allowed to charge for their time.

Private Arbitration

Arbitration is less formal than a trial. The arbitrator:

  • hears the evidence and arguments of the parties, and then
  • makes a written decision.

The parties can agree to binding or non-binding arbitration:

  • In binding arbitration the arbitrator's decision is final and completely resolves the case, without the opportunity for appeal.
  • In non-binding arbitration, the arbitrator's decision could resolve the case, without the opportunity of appeal, unless a party timely rejects the arbitrator's decision within 30 days and requests a trial.

Many private arbitrations are BINDING; if there is an arbitration clause in a contract, that clause may state whether or not arbitration will be binding.

Private arbitrators are allowed to charge for their time.

To explore one of the three types of ADR listed above:

Click to find an ADR provider (using a searchable court database)

Click for Self-Help ADR information

More ADR options:

Civil Judge ADR

The Civil Judges ADR program allows parties to have a mediation or settlement conference with an experienced judge of the Superior Court.

Mediation is an informal, confidential, flexible and non-binding process in which the judge:

  • helps the parties to understand the interests of everyone involved, and their practical and legal choices.

A settlement conference is an informal process in which the judge:  

  • meets with the parties or their attorneys,
  • hears the facts of the dispute,
  • helps identify issues to be resolved, and
  • normally suggests a resolution that the parties may accept or use as a basis for further negotiations.

The request for mediation or settlement conference may be made promptly by stipulation (agreement) upon the filing of the Civil complaint and the answer. There is no additional charge for this service.

Click here for more information and list of Civil Judge ADR Providers

Judicial Arbitration

Judicial Arbitration is like a trial, but it is less formal and there is no jury. Each side presents its case to an arbitrator. The arbitrator is either a lawyer or a retired judge, and does not take sides or give advice.

Judicial arbitration is usually free for the parties. (If your arbitration takes more than 5 hours, the arbitrator may charge you a fee, but most arbitrations take 3 hours or less.)

The parties can agree to binding or non-binding arbitration:

  • In binding arbitration the arbitrator's decision is final and completely resolves the case, without the opportunity for appeal.
  • In non-binding arbitration, the arbitrator's decision could resolve the case, without the opportunity of appeal, unless a party timely rejects the arbitrator's decision within 30 days and requests a trial.

Click to find a Judicial Arbitrator (using a searchable court database)

Click for Self-Help information about Judicial Arbitration

Civil Early Settlement Conference

A settlement conference is an information process in which the neutral (a judge or an experienced attorney):

  • meets with the parties or their attorneys,
  • hears the facts of the dispute,
  • helps identify issues to be resolved, and
  • normally suggests a resolution that the parties may accept or use as a basis for further negotiations.

There is no additional charge for this service.

Click to find a Neutral (using a searchable Court database)

Click for Self-Help information about Early Settlement Conferences

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