Online Tools Rolled Out to Facilitate Expanded Use of Mediation to Resolve Civil Disputes

 NEW YORK–The court system’s Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has rolled out three online tools to encourage the use of mediation: a statewide mediator directory, http://ww2.nycourts.gov/ip/adr/MedDirectory.shtml, to assist litigants, court staff and others in locating a court-approved mediator; a statewide mediator application, http://ww2.nycourts.gov/ip/adr/Application.shtml, that qualified mediators can use to join mediator rosters in trial courts across the state; and an online post-mediation survey, giving participants in a mediation the opportunity to evaluate the quality of the mediation services offered. 

ADR has proven a meaningful, efficient and cost-effective way to resolve disputes, with the New York Courts committed to promoting its use in suitable matters. Among other benefits, ADR, particularly mediation, enables parties to communicate, gain insight into the strengths and weaknesses of their case, come up with creative solutions and reach mutually acceptable outcomes. 

Last year, the Chief Judge launched a statewide initiative in which civil cases would be referred to ADR as early as possible, where appropriate. The plan, dubbed “Presumptive ADR,” forms a key part of the Chief Judge’s Excellence Initiative, which, since 2016, has worked to enhance court processes and procedures to improve the quality of justice services statewide. 

Implementation of the Presumptive ADR program is being overseen by the offices of the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for the New York City Courts and Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for the Courts Outside New York City, with the Office of ADR providing training and other resources to assist local judicial districts in carrying out this broad-ranging initiative. 

Thanks to input from the Chief Judge’s Advisory Committee on ADR−formed in 2018 to guide the expanded use of ADR within the courts−and with the coordinated efforts of the ADR Office, the Deputy Chief Administrative Judges’ offices, local judicial districts, and the courts’ Divisions of Technology and Court Research, litigants and others can now access the online directory to easily locate a court-approved mediator with relevant experience who serves their county and beyond. The directory also offers users the option to select a mediator who is an attorney, has expertise in a specific area, provides online mediation or speaks a second language, all without having to visit the courthouse for assistance. 

Similarly, the online mediator application is a handy way for qualified individuals to join one or more court mediator rosters at the same time, via a single application, with the aim both to increase the number of court-approved mediators and the diversity of the court-approved mediator pool. The online directory lists some 750 mediators from around the state, each meeting the court system’s training and other requirements, with more applicants being added daily. 

Additionally, with the launch of the post-mediation online survey, participants in mediation services now have a convenient way to provide the court system feedback about their experience. 

For more information about these online ADR resources or to learn more about the court system’s ADR programs, go to: 

http://ww2.nycourts.gov/ip/adr/index.shtml

# # #