Saturday, December 19, 2020

Remote CME & Training To Continue

This week, the Supreme Court of Florida amended an administrative order (AO) regarding mediator certification and renewal. This continues the judicial system's periodic update for measures to address the effects on court operations of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Please note this is an amendment to AOSC20-24 issued in the spring. Some provisions of the order expire on December 31, 2020, and some provisions have been extended until December 31, 2021. The Dispute Resolution Center states in a message to mediators that the AO should be read carefully as all dates listed are correct. Provisions that have been extended through December 31, 2021 include:

1. Training programs are allowed to be conducted online 

2. Certified mediators may complete their CME requirements in any format including non-live programs

3. Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators suspended as to required points for mentorship (except for county mediator certification, some mentorship activities may still be needed for applicants to reach the required points for certification)  

4. Electronic signatures of mentors in the mediator certification application may be provided; and

5. Deadline extensions granted for approved mediation trainers through December 31, 2021.

See more here--

Friday, December 11, 2020

Mandatory Non-Binding Arbitration Now Available

A new Administrative Order in Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida now permits a presiding circuit or county court judge to refer civil cases to non-binding arbitration without the consent of the parties, much like cases are referred to mediation. This is the first time in our local courts that such a dispute resolution mechanism, other than mediation, is available for the judicial officer to resolve backlogged cases due to Covid-19 court closures. The development is expected, as other jurisdictions have demonstrated success in culling dockets with this technique. Though some counsel and their clients have expressed disdain for the process, which can be more like a mini-trial, others have found it useful in getting to the heart of the dispute. Per the order, the non-binding arbitration hearing shall be conducted informally with a decision within ten days of the final adjournment. Presentation of testimony shall be kept to a minimum and other matters shall be presented primarily through the statements and arguments of counsel. Arbitration fees shall be equally divided between the parties, unless otherwise agreed by the parties or ordered by the court. The arbitrator or chief arbitrator shall determine the hearing procedures in advance of the hearing, including what live testimony, if any, will be permitted and the nature, scope, and duration which will be set forth in the Notice of Non-binding Arbitration Hearing. When a case is referred to non-binding arbitration the parties shall have fifteen days within which to agree on the number and selection of their own arbitrator(s); otherwise, the presiding judge shall determine the number of arbitrators and select them. See more here--