Resources / Study / Innovation for Court ADR

Just Court ADR

The blog of Resolution Systems Institute

Archive for the ‘Policy-making’ Category

The Ups and Downs of ADR Policymaking

Mary Novak, September 17th, 2014

This is the story of how a law intended to increase mediation use led to a dramatic drop-off in mediation and what was done to try to fix the error.

In April 2013, the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act came into force in England and Wales. The law cut legal aid, which formerly had been available for nearly all civil cases. In family law, legal aid for court cases was now only available for cases that involved allegations of domestic violence or child abuse. However, government funding for mediation of family case was increased by ten million pounds.  (more…)

Grievance Procedures and Mediation Policy Goals

Jennifer Shack, August 6th, 2014

Here’s something I wrote for RSI’s e-newsletter this month that I thought would interest our blog readers as well:

Parties to court mediation in Florida have the opportunity to submit their complaints regarding a mediator to a robust grievance process. The structure includes four stages: committee review to determine whether a complaint is facially sufficient; a preliminary review of rules that may have been violated and the mediator’s response to the complaint, which are used to determine probable cause; a meeting between mediator and complainant; and a formal hearing.  In “Mediator Ethical Breaches: Implications for Public Policy” (Penn State Yearbook on Arbitration and Mediation, Vol. 6, p. 107 (2014)), Sharon Press examines this grievance process and finds that the burden of proof required at the formal hearing stage has the potential to undermine the policy goals of mediation programs. (more…)

Values and Interests Revealed in Detroit “Grand Bargain”

Mary Novak, June 24th, 2014

The story of the Detroit bankruptcy mediation’s emerging “Grand Bargain” (as it has been dubbed in the media) is a fascinating case of many different groups working to protect their chosen interests. The bargain demonstrates how mediation allows parties to consider what they are willing to give in order to secure the things that matter most to them, and how traditional rivals may collaborate for a shared goal. Where litigation must have winners and losers, the proposed mediated bargain seeks to avoid that. Instead, it involves a complex balancing act in which many parties give a little to get a little — if “a little” is the right way to describe the potential movement of hundreds of millions of dollars. (more…)

When It Comes to Mediation, Less Regulation May Be More

Jennifer Shack, June 16th, 2014

You’re a judge charged with overseeing a voluntary civil case mediation program in your court. Because you’ve been monitoring your program, you know that, though 75% of cases going through mediation are reaching agreement, the program isn’t doing much to reduce judges’ workloads because mediation generally occurs very late in the case.  What do you do?

You have at least three options: (more…)

Maryland and Illinois: A Tale of Two States

Jennifer Shack, May 15th, 2014

As someone working to develop and improve court ADR in Illinois, I have long been envious of the comparatively vast resources available to do this in Maryland. And I’ve also been very interested in what Maryland’s multi-year statewide evaluation of ADR will find.  Recently, the research team involved in the evaluation published its report on Maryland’s ADR landscape. To some extent, the report was eye opening. Despite a Supreme Court that is highly supportive and a statewide organization with ample funding, in some ways the landscape looks very much like Illinois’, where the Supreme Court has not taken a leadership role and funding has been limited and unreliable.  (more…)