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Just Court ADR

The blog of Resolution Systems Institute

Posts Tagged ‘arbitration’

“Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act” Update

Susan M. Yates, October 17th, 2016

The Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act has been finalized by the Uniform Law Commission and the full version with commentary is now available. You can find the final version of the act and other information on it here.

If you want to learn more about the act, the American Bar Association Family Law Litigation Committee is sponsoring a telephonic “roundtable” about it on November 4, at 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Eastern. The roundtable is free and open to anyone, including non-ABA members, but you have to register for it using the following link: https://form.jotform.com/62504543364150.

The speakers for the roundtable have all been deeply involved in the creation of the model act. They include Barbara A. Atwood, Chair of the Family Law Arbitration Drafting Committee, Uniform Law Commission; Kaitlin A. Dohse, Legislative Counsel, Uniform Law Commission; and Linda H. Elrod, Reporter for the Family Law Arbitration Drafting Committee, Uniform Law Commission.

The Uniform Law Commission describes the need for the act and its intended results as follows: “States’ laws vary when it comes to arbitrating family law matters such as spousal support, division of property, child custody, and child support. The Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act standardizes the arbitration of family law. It is based in part on the Revised Uniform Arbitration Act, though it departs from the RUAA in areas in which family law arbitration differs from commercial arbitration, such as: standards for arbitration of child custody and child support; arbitrator qualifications and powers; protections for victims of domestic violence. This Act is intended to create a comprehensive family law arbitration system for the states.”

Turning Arbitration into a Political Football

Susan M. Yates, November 6th, 2015

Did you read the three articles on arbitration The New York Times published on October 31, November 1 and November 2? They tell a series of horror stories about arbitrations in employment, consumer and religious settings. I was sorely disappointed by them because they continued the trend to politicize arbitration.

This trend toward treating arbitration as political football didn’t just start last week in the Times. For some time now, one side has painted arbitration as bad for consumers because it limits class actions. They contend that class actions tackle the small issues that no individual would litigate. They say they help keep big corporations honest. Another side has said arbitration is good for consumers because it is less expensive and more accessible than litigation. They contend that class actions are bad for consumers because when class action litigation settles, the consumers may receive small gift certificates while the lawyers get big legal fees. See, for example, this article by the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform in response to the Times articles.

Here’s the thing: arbitration is not the problem. (more…)

Family Law Arbitration Act

Susan M. Yates, March 24th, 2015

People who have been involved with family law are likely to have encountered mediation, especially in child-related issues. But what about arbitration?

The Uniform Law Commission is in the midst of drafting a Family Law Arbitration Act designed to provide a structure for arbitration of family law matters. The draft act provides many of the typical characteristics of arbitration that distinguish it from litigation. For example, parties will enter arbitration through an agreement to arbitrate; parties select and hire their arbitrator; arbitration proceedings and awards can be confidential; and arbitration awards are final, with very limited causes for appeal to a court. Family law arbitration differs from commercial arbitration in some key respects, such as greater opportunities for judicial review of awards determining child custody and support.

Family arbitration is quite dissimilar from family mediation. Most importantly, the arbitrator makes a decision that (more…)

What’s Labor Day Got to Do with ADR?

Susan M. Yates, August 29th, 2014

For a while in the evolution of the ADR field, when two neutrals met they would sometimes ask what the other’s “profession of origin” was. What they meant was, “what did you do before you were a mediator?” There were some unspoken questions packed in there, too. They wanted to know, are you a full-time neutral or are you really from some other profession and trying to break into this one? And mostly I think they wanted to know, are you like me? Are you a lawyer, a therapist…?

I haven’t heard this question much recently. Maybe that is partly because ADR really is sinking into our society. Kids are mediating on playgrounds and deciding in college that they want to be mediators. Young adults are getting Masters Degrees in conflict resolution and looking to change the world. More people see mediation as their first career of choice, not the one they move to when they are tired of their original plan.

Even as conflict resolution increasingly becomes part of our everyday life, I would like to pay homage to a profession of origin that seems to be lost in the haze of ADR history. Thank you to the mediators and arbitrators who came from the labor relations field. (more…)

“Hot-Tubbing” and ADR?

Susan M. Yates, April 7th, 2014

Did you know there is an ADR process called “hot-tubbing?” This was news to me when I heard it mentioned last week at the Court ADR Symposium (which occurs every year on the day before the ABA Dispute Resolution Section Conference). As I understand it, the process is used sometimes in arbitration when there are conflicting expert opinions. Basically, the idea is that rather than simply hear expert testimony from each side sequentially, the arbitrator questions the experts concurrently. Hot-tubbing has been used in court settings in Australia, England and Wales, as well as in arbitration. (more…)