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Just Court ADR

The blog of Resolution Systems Institute

Posts Tagged ‘pro se’

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…)

Illinois Rule Changes Increase Opportunities for Legal Representation in ADR

Just Court ADR, June 17th, 2013

Illinois rule changes that may increase the availability of counsel for alternative dispute resolution processes take effect in two weeks. After July 1, 2013, it will be easier for lawyers to work with clients on one clearly defined portion of a civil legal matter without taking on other issues or proceedings within the case. Updated forms and procedures streamline representation for clients who wish to retain a lawyer for settlement negotiations only, understanding that the lawyer will not be responsible for taking the case to trial. (more…)

New Report Shows US Federal Courts Embrace ADR

Just Court ADR, June 26th, 2012

The US Courts’ news service posted last week about a preliminary report by Donna Stienstra at the Federal Judicial Center that shows the extent to which federal courts use ADR. Thirty years after a handful of courts first began experimenting with ADR, every federal district court now authorizes some form of ADR, and a third of courts authorize multiple ADR processes. During the year ending June 30, 2011, more than 28,000 cases were referred to ADR in 49 district courts (out of 94 total district courts; statistics weren’t available for the remaining courts). (more…)

Combining Mediation and Unbundled Legal Services

Just Court ADR, July 5th, 2011

Last month RSI’s Heather Scheiwe Kulp blogged about the need for courts to find creative solutions to the problems of increasing caseloads, increasing numbers of self-represented litigants and dwindling resources to handle it all. As if in answer, an article showed up in RSI inboxes last week that addressed these very issues. (more…)

ADR and Self-Represented Litigants

Susan M. Yates, June 24th, 2011

The Center for American Progress has published a paper, “Grounds for Objection: Causes and Consequences of America’s Pro Se Crisis and How to Solve the Problem of Unrepresented Litigants” that recommends ADR as one method for helping the growing numbers of pro se litigants in the country’s courtrooms:

“Alternative dispute resolution methods administered by lawyers and nonlawyers alike can help people avoid court altogether. Mediation is often considered particularly useful in family law cases where it can promote cooperation in parents who must remain significantly involved with one another after their case is resolved.”

The author wisely points out that ADR is not a panacea:

“For some litigants, alternatives to the traditional client-attorney relationship will not work. They may be unable to resolve their disputes in mediation, their case may be too complicated, or they may face personal issues such as mental health problems that make both ADR and self-representation poor options.”

This takes a very healthy perspective, one that those of us who care about both ADR and about individuals with limited resources should embody. We should think broadly about how the processes we promote can assist people and what the limits are to the effectiveness of these processes.

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