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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, and for others the program is free for the participants.

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.

To learn more about the Court’s Mediation program, go to the Mediation and Evaluation page.

TO FIND A MEDIATOR CLICK HERE

 

Civil Early Settlement Conference

A settlement conference is an informal 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, but you must agree on a neutral with the other party or parties, and file Local Form CV-5008 .

To learn more about the Court’s Rule 4 Early Settlement Conference, go to the Civil Early Settlement Conferences page.

TO FIND AN ESC PROVIDER CLICK HERE

 

Early Mandatory Settlement Conference

This program, designed to help resolve cases which may have been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is similar to the Early Settlement Conference Program under Local Rule 4, except that you may be ordered by your judge to participate in this program. If you have been ordered to an early MSC, please review the list of available neutrals and mutually agree to one with the other party or parties to your case.

To find more information about the Early Mandatory Settlement Conference program, please go to the Presiding Judge’s Order of March 2, 2021 .

TO FIND AN EARLY MSC NEUTRAL CLICK HERE

 

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.

To learn more about the Court’s Early Neutral Evaluation program, go to the Mediation and Evaluation page.

TO FIND A NEUTRAL EVALUATOR CLICK HERE

 

Judicial Arbitration

Arbitration is more formal than mediation or a settlement conference, but less formal than a trial and there is no jury. 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, and may designate who the arbitrator will be.

Private arbitrators are allowed to charge for their time.

Non-Binding Judicial Arbitration is free for the parties, unless it takes longer than 3 hours, in which case the arbitrator may charge you a fee. The arbitrator will be a retired judge or an experienced attorney.

To learn more about Non-Binding Judicial Arbitration, go to the Judicial Arbitration page.

TO FIND A JUDICIAL ARBITRATOR CLICK HERE

 

Civil Judges 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, however your case must meet certain qualifications, and you must submit Local Form CV-5017 , which must be approved by the Civil Supervising Judge.

To learn more about the Court’s Civil Judges ADR program, please consult Local Civil Rule 3.

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