Client: Yolo Superior Court
The Challenge: The court found that the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) had declined to less than 10% of eligible cases, case management conference continuances were common and nearly half of the pending caseload was older than time standards. The court wanted to augment its ADR program by developing and promoting civil mediation as an alternative to:
Encourage ADR in more cases;
Save time and money for litigants and the
courts by reducing the number of court events and increasing
early resolution or narrowing of issues;
Reduce the total time to disposition;
Increase attorney and litigant satisfaction
with adjudication process by providing more control and
flexibility in choosing an ADR path and reducing the level
of acrimony between parties; and
Enhance educational opportunities for local
attorneys and non-attorney mediators.
We assessed community needs by surveying local attorney about their experience in and recommendations for civil mediation, examining mediation programs in other courts, and considering issues such as:
Whether mediation should be available in all
civil case types
Whether participation should be voluntary or
Whether the parties or the court should pay
The ideal qualifications of mediators
Who should select the mediator for an
How mediation should be integrated with case
management, including when mediation should take place and
whether court hearings should be suspended pending the
outcome of mediation
How the mediation program should be
We also evaluated other courtís ADR public information materials and provided suggestions for enhancing the Yolo Superior Courtís materials.
Question and answer guide for the bench to
address common questions in ADR programs.
Design of the civil mediation program,
including a flowchart clarifying how civil mediation ties to
Materials for use by mediators.
Reports to the AOC on the program design and
use of grant funds.
Web content that promotes use of ADR by the
general public and attorneys.
Consultants: Kate Harrison and Phyllis Smith
If you'd like to know how you can achieve these
types of results in your agency, please visit our website at
www.kateharrisonconsulting.com or call Kate
at (510) 524-2154. For more information about this project,
please click here to request the grant report and
process flow chart.
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