Wednesday, October 8, 2014

FLABAR ADR Section Spotlights Upcoming Mediation Week

Michelle Jernigan, Editor of The Florida Bar Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Section's News & Tips publication, has put forth a special edition featuring "Stories Mediators Tell" which is a theme of the American Bar Association's Mediation Week. She recounts that Florida's first Citizens Dispute Settlement Program began in 1975. In 1982, the Florida legislature passed a family mediation statute. In 1986, Florida's Supreme Court created the Florida Dispute Resolution Center to research and develop an infrastructure for a statewide ADR program covering all court contested matters. The following year, the Florida legislature passed one of the most comprehensive legislative ADR programs in the entire country. Since 1988, Florida courts have had authority to order parties to mediation. Jernigan writes that ADR procedures have now permanently altered the judicial culture of Florida. Most cases in Florida are voluntarily mediated at least once, and sometimes twice, in lieu of going to trial which has really become the alternative form of dispute resolution. Many parties seek to utilize pre-suit mediation before a lawsuit is even filed. Even litigants with contractual arbitration clauses frequently choose to mediate before submitting the dispute for final disposition to an arbitrator. Mediation Week will be celebrated nationally from October 12-18, 2014. See our ADR Section newsletter for more here: