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Just Court ADR

The blog of Resolution Systems Institute

Posts Tagged ‘California’

Mediation Shouldn’t Be More of a Barrier Than a Boon

Susan M. Yates, March 17th, 2017

When it comes to defining mediation, I am not a strict constructionist. As long as a mediation program operates within the ethical boundaries, such as confidentiality, neutrality and voluntariness, which are articulated in the Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators, I can agree with a wide variety of approaches.

Unfortunately, sometimes certain entities (e.g., courts, governments, schools, corporations) seem to use the word “mediation” as cover to make a process that is not really mediation appear more palatable. It is worse yet when the purpose of the program appears to be to create a set of hurdles. One of my core principles in mediation system design is that a mediation program should ease the path to resolution, not erect barriers to it.

A program being developed by the City of Concord, California, to address rising rental rates is looks like the latest example of breaking this principle. (more…)

CA Confidential: How The Latest Challenges to California’s Evidence Code Undermine Mediation

Eric Slepak, November 3rd, 2015

In the world of ADR news, California’s mediation confidentiality provisions are achieving “Kardashian”-like levels of fame at the moment, with a comparable amount of dramatic fireworks to boot. Since 1993, California has included in its Evidence Code provisions which guarantee mediation confidentiality and greatly limit the discovery and admission of evidence procured from mediations. However, between an initiative to rewrite the California Evidence Code and a recent decision in Delaware’s influential Court of Chancery, these protections face a challenge, one that threatens to jeopardize the reliability of mediation as a viable dispute resolution process in the Golden State. (more…)

One-Day Divorce in San Diego Court

Susan M. Yates, July 1st, 2014

I love Richard Zorza’s Access to Justice Blog, especially when he covers programs like the one offered by San Diego, California courts to accomplish divorce in a single day. Zorza cites a New York Times piece to explain how the process works. The divorcing couple files for divorce and reaches agreement on everything: property, debts, child-related issues, etc. Then the couple goes to court and a court coordinator helps ensure they have all the necessary documents and they are completed correctly. With the paperwork in order, the couple can get their divorce the same day.

One of the things that makes this program unusual is that the court provides a coordinator who does not give legal advice, but who does help the divorcing couple ensure their documents are in order and help fill in any missing pieces if needed. (more…)

Death Knell for Court ADR in LA

Jennifer Shack, March 14th, 2013

You might have read my previous post noting the threatened closure of Los Angeles County Superior Court’s ADR programs. It’s now official. As of March 11, the court stopped accepting referrals to its pro bono mediation program, as well as for any arbitrations, mediations, neutral evaluations, and voluntary settlement conferences from civil, family, and probate courtrooms. In April, mediation will cease for any Civil Harassment, Small Claims, and Unlawful Detainer calendars. All  ADR offices will be closed by May 1st.

Articulated Purposes and Objectives for Foreclosure Mediation Programs

Heather Scheiwe Kulp, September 6th, 2011

Foreclosure mediation and mitigation programs began appearing in local, state, and national contexts in response to the foreclosure crisis. As the crisis persists, more states have adopted or are looking to adopt such programs as a way to ensure borrowers (more…)