Benefits of ADR
There are benefits to using ADR as an alternative to litigation. These include, but are not limited to the following:
- ADR can save participants time and money. It allows the courts to wisely conserve trial resources for those cases where there is truly a need for litigation.
- Often, parties are able to preserve their relationships after ADR; in trial there is a winner and a loser.
- ADR provides more open, flexible, and responsive processes that are tailored to the unique needs of the parties.
- ADR outcomes address the real needs of each party in an informal process that offers customized solutions and enhances community involvement in dispute resolution.
- Using ADR instead of litigation often results in greater participant satisfaction.
Despite its many benefits, ADR may not be appropriate in all cases. As a general matter, the following situations should be seriously considered before using ADR as an alternative to litigation:
- Where one party uses intimidation or refuses to share information
- Where a party is too afraid to negotiate assertively
- Where a party wants to continue to litigate
- Where a party wants to establish a judicial precedent
- Where there is recent or continuing domestic abuse or violence involving the parties
- Where one or both parties are not mentally competent to understand the issues and negotiate assertively
- When one or both parties are impaired by alcohol or substance abuse and cannot effectively negotiate
- When the disposition of the participating attorneys is one of hostility and/ or incompatibility
The parties to a case may stipulate to, or the Court may order the parties for a mandatory settlement conference (SC). The parties can either attend an SC through private mediation, or with a Judge Pro Tempore (JPT) through the court’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Department. Cases are generally referred to ADR for a settlement conference by the Judge presiding over the case (Family, Civil, and Probate Cases).
- Family: During a court hearing or the Judge may set an ex parte settlement conference. See ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 2021-044: IN THE MATTER OF ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROGRAM PROCEDURES FOR FAMILY COURT CASES (AMENDMENT TO AO 2021-041) & ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 2021-041: IN THE MATTER OF ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROGRAM PROCEDURES FOR FAMILY COURT CASES.
- Civil: By Minute Entry; Stipulated/Joint Order; or during a Courtroom Hearing. See ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 2023-009: IN THE MATTER OF ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROGRAM PROCEDURES FOR CIVIL CASES
- Probate: By Minute Entry; Stipulated/Joint Order; or during a Courtroom Hearing.
ADR forms are available in the Law Library Resource Center: https://superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/llrc/, and parties may contact the ADR office for additional information at 602-506-7884.
Referral Flow Charts:
- ADR Family Settlement Conference Referral Process
- ADR Civil Settlement Conference Referral Process
- ADR Short Trial Referral Process
- ADR Probate Settlement Conference Referral Process
Terms and Definitions
ADR Program Coordinator
Contact the ADR Office
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