Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) can help people resolve their disputes before a trial. The Judicial Branch offers a variety of ADR methods such as mediation, arbitration and settlement conferences which usually take less time, are less formal and less expensive than a trial.
The Judicial Branch is committed to providing only those ADR programs which consist of a procedurally fair, cost effective and ethical process designed to timely resolve the type of dispute at hand, taking into account the needs of all the involved stakeholders, conducted by trained neutrals applying best practices, which leads to an outcome or a change in position the stakeholders find satisfactory, even if the case itself does not settle.
Can be used for: Any civil case where the judgment is expected
to be less than $50,000 and a claim for a trial by jury and a certificate of
closed pleadings has been filed.The parties have a right to a trial if the
arbitration is not successful..
Legal Authority: Section 52-549u through 52-549aa of the Connecticut General Statutes.
Attorney Trial Referees
Can be used for: Any civil, non-jury case, if the
parties consent. No jurisdictional limit on the amount in controversy. The
decision imust be reviewed and approved by the court.
Legal Authority: Section 52-434(a)(4) of the Connecticut General Statutes.
Judicial-ADR (J-ADR) - Formerly Court-Annexed Mediation
Can be used for: Civil cases in which the parties wish to have a judicially conducted
conference with a Judge, Senior Judge or Judge Trial Referee for no less
than half a day. Parties may directly schedule the event, subject to
the availability of the agreed-upon judicial official, or complete and e-file
the court form “Request for Judicial Alternative Dispute Resolution
“JD-CV-130 for assignment. Referral to J-ADR may also be initiated by a
presiding civil judge or his/her designee.
Legal Authority: Section 51-5a of the Connecticut General Statutes.
Can be used for: Contract cases (except insurance claims for uninsured and/or underinsured
motorists) involving money damages only (less than $50,000 and based on a
promise to pay a definite sum), and a certificate of closed pleadings is
filed.The decision is subject to court review.
Legal Authority: Section 52-549n through 52-549t of the Connecticut General Statutes.
The Foreclosure Mediation Program has been set up to help certain homeowners and lenders come to an agreement about a mortgage foreclosure. Currently, the program terminates when mediation has ended with respect to any foreclosure action with a return date from July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2016. Notice Regarding Changes to the Foreclosure Mediation Program - PDF
Can be used for: Any housing matter as defined in
Section 47a-68 of the Connecticut General Statutes, including contested or
uncontested summary process and all actions
regarding forcible entry and detainer, back rent, damages, and return of
Legal Authority: Section 47a-69 of the Connecticut General Statutes.
The Commission on Civil Court Alternative Dispute Resolution adopted the following definitions in its Report and Recommendations dated December 11, 2011.
The definitions are taken from Kimberlee K. Kovach, Mediation Principles and Practices (3d ed. 2004) unless noted otherwise.
Adjudicative: in adjudicatory dispute resolution processes, such as arbitration and private adjudication, or private judging, the neutral adjudicates, or makes a decision.
Arbitration: generally conducted by a sole arbitrator or a panel of three, arbitrators listen to a typically adversarial presentation of all sides of a case, and thereafter render a decision, usually termed an award; may be binding and nonbinding in nature.
Caucus: the confidential meeting of members of one side of a dispute, usually with the mediator, to discuss options and attempt to find a resolution.
Collaborative: a process
where people are encouraged to work toward resolution in a transparent and
peaceful manner; the goal is to support the parties to unfold the issues and
create fair agreements that will stand the test of time while emphasizing
the importance of a continuing relationship after the conflict has been
International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
Conciliative: a process where the primary focus is on the interpersonal aspect of a conflict; a neutral brings parties together to discuss matters, and emphasis is placed on the mending and maintenance of relationships.
Dispute: a conflict or controversy which may become the subject of litigation. Black’s Law Dictionary (8th Ed. 2004).
Dispute Resolution Provider: a person, other than a judge acting in an official capacity, who holds himself or herself out to the public as a qualified neutral person trained to function in the conflict-solving process using the techniques and procedures of negotiation, conciliation, mediation, arbitration, mini-trial, moderated settlement conference, neutral expert fact-finding, summary jury trial, special masters, and related processes. Adapted from Title 58, Chapter 39a Utah Code Ann. 1953, as amended by Session Laws of Utah 2009.
Evaluative: a process whereby advocates present their version of a case to one or more third party neutrals, who then evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each case as presented; the primary purpose of neutral case evaluation is to provide an objective, non-binding and confidential evaluation of a case.
Facilitative: in facilitative processes, the neutral does not render a decision or an evaluation; rather, the neutral provides assistance to the parties so that they may reach an acceptable agreement.
Mediation: a process where a third party neutral, whether one person or more, acts as a facilitator to assist in resolving a dispute between two or more parties; the role of the mediator includes facilitating communication between the parties, assisting in identifying the real issues of the dispute and the interests of the parties, and generating options for settlement.
Neutral: a trained third-party who does not have a stake in the outcome of a dispute and assists the parties toward resolution.
Pretrial Conference: an informal meeting at which opposing attorneys confer, usually with a judge, to work toward the disposition of a case by discussing matters of evidence and narrowing the issues that will be tried. Black’s Law Dictionary (8th Ed. 2004).
Provider: any entity or organization which holds itself out as managing or administering dispute resolution or conflict solving services. Adapted from CPR-Georgetown Commission on Ethics and Standards of Practice in ADR, Principles for ADR Provider Organizations, May 1, 2002.
Settlement: an agreement ending a dispute or lawsuit. Black’s Law Dictionary (8th Ed. 2004).
CSSD Family Services Mediation/ADR Programs
Can be used for: Dissolution (divorce) cases on the limited contested
and contested case lists. May address child custody, visitation, property
and financial issues.
Legal Authority: Sections 46b-53a; 46b-59a of the Connecticut General Statutes and Practice Book Section 25-61.
Statements by the parties during the mediation are confidential and may not be used as evidence in court.Special Masters-Family Matters
Can be used for:
Family cases on the
limited contested or contested case lists may be referred for settlement
Legal Authority: Section 51-5a of the Connecticut General Statutes.
Can be used for: Any Child Protection matter including, but not limited to, neglect, termination, permanency review, and guardianship.
If the parties reach an agreement, the parties put the agreement in writing. The agreement is then reviewed in court by the judge and, if approved, made part of the decision of the case.
If the parties do not reach an agreement, they go back to court for the court to handle. Child Protection Mediation Pamphlet (JDP-JM-159, Rev. 12/08)
Alternative dispute resolution is so successful in settling cases that many attorneys, mediators and arbitration organizations offer ADR services. The parties involved in the case must choose their own private ADR provider. The Judicial Branch does not maintain rosters or endorse any particular ADR provider. Parties who are thinking about hiring a private ADR provider may want to ask the following questions: