Types of ADR
Arbitration means a process in which (1) the parties appear before one or more
impartial neutrals / arbitrators and present evidence and argument supporting their respective positions, and
(2) the neutrals / arbitrators render a decision in the form of an award that is binding. The parties may
agree that the decision is not binding.
Mediation means a process in which the parties work with one or more impartial
neutrals / mediators who, without providing legal advice, assist the parties in reaching their own voluntary
agreement for the resolution of the dispute or issues in the dispute.
Settlement Conference Facilitation
Both parties meet with an impartial Neutral, who will facilitate discussions between
both parties to help the opposing parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement. The neutral will evaluate
the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s case and help the parties analyze the risks associated with a
trial. Sometimes, at the request of the parties, the neutral will offer an opinion regarding a likely
Neutral Case Evaluation
Neutral Case Evaluation means a process in which the parties and their attorneys
present in summary fashion, evidence and arguments supporting their respective positions to a neutral. The
neutral person renders an evaluation of their positions and an opinion as to the likely outcome of the
dispute or issues in the dispute if the action is tried before a jury.
Rules of ADR
Most court rules contain provisions concerning the timing and compulsory
requirements of ADR. All court rules and even some statutes mandate that the ADR activity be confidential to
the parties and the neutral. Thus the court can never be privy to what the parties said or what their demand
or offers were.
Compulsory or Voluntary
Some courts mandate that all parties participate in an ADR activity before a trial
date is set - while others allow the parties to volunteer for a court sponsored ADR program. Most courts that
mandate ADR allow the parties to petition the court to be relieved of the obligation upon a showing of good
cause. The courts maintain a list of qualified neutrals and in most cases require the neutral to meet certain
specified minimum qualifications.
Largely because the courts began to mandate ADR, a requirement that neutrals be
certified evolved. Most courts maintain a list of qualified neutrals in various specialties i.e. family law,
medical malpractice, and personal injury, complex civil and commercial litigation. If an individual desires
to be placed on a court list of neutrals, most courts require the neutral to demonstrate their experience and
successfully complete a 40 hour course on the principles of mediation. Certification requirements and
procedures vary widely from state to state and even county to county and in many instances they are largely
discretionary with the court although minimum standards are usually established in state wide court rules of
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