NY court system to implement early alternative dispute resolution for civil cases

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore announced the new “presumptive ADR” model last week.  Eagle  photo by Todd Maisel.

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore announced the new “presumptive ADR” model last week. Eagle photo by Todd Maisel.

By David Brand

New York’s Unified Court System has introduced a systemwide initiative in which parties in most civil cases will be referred to mediation or some other form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as the initial step in the case proceeding in court.

The new model is known as “presumptive ADR” and refers cases routinely to mediation and other forms of ADR earlier in the process.

“Making ADR services widely available in civil courts throughout the State ̶ and facilitating the use of such services as early as possible in the case ̶ are major steps toward a more efficient, affordable and meaningful civil justice process,” said Chief Judge Janet DiFiore.

Various types of civil cases — including personal injury, matrimonial, estate and commercial — will be directed to ADR, with a focus on court-sponsored mediation, NY Courts said.

“Court-sponsored ADR has a proven record of success, with high settlement rates and strong user satisfaction among litigants and lawyers,” said Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks. “We are eager to move ahead as we bring ADR into the mainstream, offering a far broader range of options to conventional litigation in our ongoing efforts to streamline the case management process and better serve the justice needs of New Yorkers.”