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Court’s ADR committee floats proposals aimed at increasing the use of alternative dispute resolution

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Court’s ADR committee floats proposals aimed at increasing the use of alternative dispute resolution

The Florida Supreme Court Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules and Policy has been working on a proposal to increase the use of alternative dispute resolution.

As part of this project, the committee has been examining ways to broaden the variety of ADR processes available and make them more attractive to use. To date, the use of mediation by litigants in the state court system in Florida far eclipses any other alternative process. While mediation likely is the best option for most of these litigants, there are other effective ADR methods which parties might prefer to utilize in certain cases, according to the committee.

Additional processes under discussion by the committee for inclusion in the Rules of Civil Procedure include arbitration, mini-trial, neutral evaluation, summary jury trial, and “other processes as agreed to by the parties.” In addition, other forms of ADR, including possibly parenting coordination, are also being considered for the rules governing ADR in F.S. §39 and §61 cases.

There are many possible reasons why other processes are utilized less frequently, but certainly one is the lack of clear procedures and infrastructure, according to the committee. To address this concern, the ADR Rules and Policy Committee has developed a draft core set of procedural rules which would govern ADR processes if utilized by litigants in a court proceeding upon their own initiative or upon order of the parties to select an ADR process. The committee has also developed a draft core set of ethical standards for court-appointed ADR neutrals.

As currently envisioned, court-ordered mediation would still be governed by procedural rules specific to mediation in addition to the general rules, and certified and court-ordered mediators would be bound by the more specific ethical standards and rules of discipline found in the Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators.

To access the draft of the core procedural rules, click here. To access the draft of the ethical standards, click here.

I n addition, the committee is working on proposed revisions to the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure and the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure.

Comments may be e-mailed to [email protected] or via fax to (850) 922-9290 or mail to Dispute Resolution Center 500 S. Duval Street, Tallahassee 32399-1905.

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