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Just Court ADR

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RSI and NAFCM’s Community Mediation Special Topic Now Available for Download!

Nicole Wilmet, August 27th, 2019

RSI’s Special Topics summarize and explore various topics related to court ADR and are categorized by profession and subject. Last year, RSI and the National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM) collaborated and released a Community Mediation Special Topic. We are pleased to announce that this Special Topic is now available for download!

In this Special Topic you will find:

  • The background and history of community mediation
  • The relationship between courts and community mediation
  • Information on how to track and evaluate community mediation programs and activities
  • A list of exemplary studies on the effectiveness of community mediation and research that helps centers to better address issues surrounding the provision of services.

We hope you find this resource to be helpful in your work!

Michigan Supreme Court Launches New Online Dispute Resolution Program, MI-Resolve

Nicole Wilmet, August 23rd, 2019

In August, the Michigan Supreme Court launched MI-Resolve, a free online dispute resolution tool. The program is provided by Matterhorn and is currently available for district courts in 17 Michigan counties to use. During the pilot phase of this program, MI-Resolve is limited to cases alleging that money is owed and is being used in small claims, general civil, landlord-tenant, contract, and neighborhood disputes. The goal of MI-Resolve is to make access to legal resources more efficient and affordable and save parties the time and cost of having to go to court in person.

Through the program, parties may resolve their disputes with or without the assistance of a mediator. When working with a mediator, MI-Resolve’s Terms of Service note that parties may arrange to meet in person with a mediator or via videoconference. In recent news coverage of the program, Michelle Hilliker from the Michigan Office of Dispute Resolution noted that mediators for the program are required to complete at least 40 hours of State Court Administrative Office approved training and a 10-hour internship. Individuals do not need to have a case filed in court to use MI-Resolve. However, if parties do have a dispute filed, they may use MI-Resolve to try to reach a settlement before their hearing or trial date.

Parties wishing to use MI-Resolve must be over 18, live, work, or have a dispute arise in one of the 17 counties offering the program, have an active e-mail address, access to the internet, and must agree to the terms in the Agreement to Mediate (which parties access through their registration page after completing intake). In the press release for the program, the Michigan Supreme Court notes that MI-Resolve is expected to expand statewide soon.

My Favorite Resource Featuring D.G. Mawn

Nicole Wilmet, July 23rd, 2019

Our series My Favorite Resource, features interviews with our ADR friends across the country to learn about their favorite ADR resources. This month, Resource Center Director Nicole Wilmet spoke with D.G. Mawn, National Association of Community Mediation, to learn about his favorite resource.

NW: What is one of your favorite ADR resources?

DM: One of my favorite resources is the NAFCM On Demand webinars.

NW: Why do you value this particular resource?

DM: The On Demand feature is great for several reasons. First, if I am not able to listen in on the second Thursday of the month, I can listen to the webinars at times that are convenient for me.  Secondly, I get a second chance to listen and hear things I generally miss the first time. Thirdly, the On Demand feature helps me with an easy tool for training inspiration. There are 85 webinars presently housed for continual usage.

NW: How did you first learn about this resource?

DM: I first learned of this resource when I joined NAFCM in 2011 and listened to the webinar provided by Elaine Dickhoner, “Put Community First in Your Mediation Center,” in early 2012.

NW: For those unfamiliar with this resource, what is one part of this resource that you wouldn’t want someone to miss?

DM: The opportunity for continual learning, both as a listener and as a presenter. NAFCM webinars include a wide range of presenters, many of whom are practitioners in the field of community mediation. If you have something you want to share, please contact NAFCM to let them know. This is a great platform for expanding knowledge and creating connections.

If you have a favorite resource you would like to share in an upcoming edition of our newsletter and on our blog, please reach out to our Resource Center Director and Court ADR Connection Editor, Nicole Wilmet at nwilmet@aboutrsi.org!

Nebraska Updates Legislation to Include Restorative Justice

Nicole Wilmet, July 19th, 2019

In May, the Nebraska legislature passed an alternative dispute resolution bill that, in part, updates the state’s Dispute Resolution Act, Juvenile Code, and Student Discipline Act to include restorative justice provisions and expand the Office of Dispute Resolution’s authority to utilize restorative justice. The updated Dispute Resolution Act now requires the Office of Dispute Resolution director to support the implementation, development, promotion and evaluation of restorative justice at ADR centers. Individuals approved to be restorative justice facilitators at these centers are required to complete 30 hours of basic mediation training and must also undergo additional restorative justice focused training in topics including, but not limited to, restorative justice basics, trauma-informed practices, juvenile developmental characteristics and crime victimization.

The bill also updates the Dispute Resolution Act to include a privilege for communications made during or in connection with cases referred to restorative justice programs. The new bill also provides definitions for restorative justice and restorative justice facilitator in both the Dispute Resolution Act and Juvenile Code and further defines victim conferencing in the Juvenile Code.

Updates to the Juvenile Code include providing restorative justice as an option in juvenile cases and permitting courts to order juveniles for assessment and referral to restorative justice programs. Additionally, the newly updated Juvenile Code permits county/city attorneys to utilize restorative justice services as a part of diversion. Finally, the new legislation updates the Student Discipline Act and permits school districts to refer students to restorative justice practices and services to address behavioral issues. The bill was signed into law by Governor Pete Ricketts on May 21, 2019 and may be read in full here.

Happy Resolution Systems Institute Day!

Nicole Wilmet, July 11th, 2019

Today we are celebrating Resolution Systems Institute Day!

On this day last year, during our summer staff gathering in Rockford, Matthew Flores presented RSI’s Executive Director Susan Yates with a Proclamation signed by the City of Rockford Mayor Thomas McNamara declaring July 11, 2018 as Resolution Systems Institute Day!

In 2013, RSI received a grant from the Illinois Attorney General to incubate foreclosure mediation in Illinois through August 31, 2018. Over the course of five years, these programs served nearly 5,000 homeowners, and kept 1,100 people in their homes. In 2018, RSI’s Director of Research Jennifer Shack completed her final evaluation of the programs, which you can read here. RSI is pleased to have had the opportunity to work with the 17th Judicial Circuit and thanks Mayor McNamara for making July 11th a day we will always remember!

Matthew Flores, Assistant City Attorney for the City of Rockford, presents Susan Yates, RSI’s Executive Director, with a proclamation declaring July 11, 2018 as Resolution Systems Institute Day!