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Just Court ADR

The blog of Resolution Systems Institute

New to RSI’s Resource Center

Nicole Wilmet, April 1st, 2021

Did you know that RSI’s Resource Center is the most comprehensive and respected source of information on court ADR anywhere? Housed within the Resource Center is the Research Library which has an extensive collection of court ADR resources such as articles, studies, court rules, statutes and court forms. 

RSI’s Resource Center Director Nicole Wilmet regularly adds new resources to the Research Library. The following list highlights a few of the resources that have recently been added. 

We hope these resources are helpful in your work! 

Updated Compendium Highlights New Empirical ADR Studies

Jennifer Shack, March 31st, 2021

James Coben and Donna Stienstra have updated their comprehensive list of empirical studies of alternative dispute resolution-related topics to include studies published through fall 2020. Each listed study includes an abstract. The list includes 

  • apology
  • arbitration
  • conflict resolution theory and design
  • courts and litigants
  • ethics/deception
  • facilitation
  • mediation
  • negotiation
  • ombuds
  • online dispute resolution
  • persuasion
  • restorative justice

Some interesting additions to the list are described below.

Unintended Consequences: The Regressive Effects of Increased Access to Courts 

Anthony Niblett & Albert H. Yoon, Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 14(1): 5-30 (March 2017)

Niblett and Yoon found that when small claims limits were increased from $10,000 to $25,000 in Ontario, the demographics of those filing claims changed. Although the number of claims did not increase significantly, the proportion of plaintiffs from richer neighborhoods increased, while the proportion from poorer neighborhoods declined. They offer potential reasons for why this occurred.

Professionalism and Ethics in Family Law: The Other 90%

Deanne Sowter, Journal of Arbitration and Mediation 6(1): 167-218 (2016)

In this article, Sowter looks to contribute to the discussion about what it means to behave ethically in family law ADR by presenting empirical research obtained through roundtable discussions with mediators, collaborative lawyers and settlement-focused negotiators.

Mediation Strategies in the Face of Custody Conflicts

Wenke Gulbrandsen, Hanne Haavind & Odd Arne Tjersland, Conflict Resolution Quarterly 36(4): 293-309 (Summer 2019)

The authors analyzed mediator initiatives and responses on six dimensions: the topics that were addressed, how the agenda for the sessions was decided, focus on agreement versus relational topics, oral versus written orientation, limited versus generous time and parental versus system focus. They found that effective mediators handled these dimensions with flexibility, recognized and validated both parents’ perspectives, accepted and explored differences, differentiated topics, focused on relational issues when needed, tracked the process by written summaries and encouraged testing solutions.

Ask in Person: You’re Less Persuasive Than You Think Over Email

M. Mahdi Roghanizad & Vanessa K. Bohns, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 69: 223-226 (March 2017)

Of possible relevance to the growth in asynchronous, text-based online dispute resolution, this study found that people overestimated the probability that people would comply with their emailed request. Study findings suggest that requesters fail to recognize the suspicion, and resulting lack of empathy, with which requestees view email requests from strangers. 

Illinois Supreme Court Issues Order Encouraging Use of ADR for Evictions

Nicole Wilmet, March 30th, 2021

For months, the U.S. has been preparing for an anticipated wave of evictions and foreclosures due to COVID-19. A recent report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) suggests that the amount of potential foreclosures and evictions the U.S. is facing is at a level that hasn’t been seen since the height of the Great Recession in 2010. In the report, the CFPB notes that, as of December 2020, 11 million U.S. renters and homeowners are significantly overdue on their regularly housing payments and are at risk of foreclosure or eviction. 

As I have previously reported, courts across the country have been preparing for this wave of evictions by exploring using alternative dispute resolution (ADR) for eviction cases. In February, the Illinois Supreme Court issued an Order that authorizes and encourages Illinois courts to use ADR for eviction cases and establish Eviction Early Resolution Programs. The Order leaves room for courts to choose whether their programs will be voluntary or mandatory and select the type of ADR that their program will use. Additionally, the Order encourages circuits to allow parties meaningful opportunities to access various counseling services such as financial, housing and relocation services. Additionally, the Order encourages court programs to provide opportunities for unrepresented parties to obtain legal information or representation. To aid courts in developing their eviction programs, the Court highlights a collection of program resources that includes samples of Eviction Early Resolution Programs from both within Illinois and in other states (including Michigan and Texas). 

RSI Receives Eviction Mediation Grant

Susan M. Yates, March 29th, 2021

The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation recently awarded RSI a grant of more than $30,000 to help support RSI’s eviction mediation program in Kane County, Illinois, and our outreach to 14 Illinois judicial circuits, encompassing 39 counties, in central and northern Illinois. For both aspects of this grant, RSI will draw on our decades of experience designing and evaluating court mediation programs.

RSI has been working closely with the court and stakeholders in Kane County since last year in preparation for an expected influx of eviction cases when moratoriums expire. During the grant period, which runs from March 15, 2021 through June 30, 2021, we will reach out to other courts about their interest in eviction mediation, and offer technical assistance to help design programs as needed. 

If you live or work in a northern or central Illinois county and are interested in eviction mediation in your community, please reach out to RSI at

Jennifer Shack Celebrates 22 Years at RSI!

Just Court ADR, March 10th, 2021

Congratulations to RSI’s Director of Research Jennifer Shack who celebrates 22 years with RSI today! For Jen’s anniversary we are looking back on this interview with Jen where she shares her favorite part of her job, the biggest challenges she has faced working in court ADR and some of her favorite projects that she has worked on at RSI.

We hope you will join us in congratulating Jen on all of her hard work!