Michigan Courts Create New On Line Guide to ADR Procedures

The Michigan courts are placing more emphasis on resolving disputes through ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution), rather than full litigation.  The Office of Dispute Resolution of the State Court Administrative Office has now created a new on line guide to ADR procedures (http://courts.mi.gov/Administration/SCAO/OfficesPrograms/ODR/Pages/default.aspx).  This guides provides valuable information about the various ADR options available through the Michigan judicial system.

New Mediation Program for Michigan Court of Appeals

Several years after the Michigan Court of Appeals’ mediation office was shut down, the Michigan Supreme Court has established a new mediation pilot project.  Administrative Order 2015-8.  The pilot program began on October 1, 2015, and will remain in effect for a year.  At that point, the effectiveness of the program will be evaluated.

New Local Federal Court Rule

New Local Rules (LR 16.3, 16.4, 16.5, 16.6 and 16.7) for the Eastern District of Michigan, effective February 1, 2015, demonstrate favor by the court for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods before resorting to trial.  ADR is a less formal, less adversarial method of resolving a dispute between parties than trial.  It is also generally less costly and time-consuming than going to trial.

LR 16.3 sets out the general provisions for ADR proceedings, including the requirements for the parties and facilitators.  Under this rule, ADR is authorized for all civil actions in this district under 28 U.S.C. §651(b), and favored for cases in which the judge determines that ADR may help resolve the dispute.

The rest of the new rules describe the kinds of ADR approved in this district.  These are facilitative mediation (LR 16.4), case evaluation (LR 16.5), settlement conferences (16.6), and other procedures (16.7).  Each of these rules sets out the requirements and processes for the various types of ADR.  Other ADR procedures under LR 16.7 include summary jury trials, summary bench trials, and arbitration (with parties’ consent), or any other extrajudicial dispute resolution procedures not specifically set out in these rules.

Arbitration Clause Builder Web Site

A useful tool from the American Arbitration Association is the Clause Builder. This will help to put the necessary language into contracts and agreements that will allow for Alternative Dispute Resolution to be the preferred method of resolving disagreements that may arise.

Best Practices for Judges

Michigan Judges Guide to ADR Practice and Procedure