Sunday, October 17, 2021

Mediation Week 2021

October 17-23 is officially Mediation Week in Florida and elsewhere, marking the importance of dispute resolution as an effective substitute to litigation and the fact that mediation has continued virtually during the pandemic, allowing parties to resolve disputes without resorting to litigation in a system of very backed-up court dockets. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has been used by Florida courts for more than 30 years. I have been mediating lawsuits for over 20 years now and this past year and a half was the most seismic shift in our profession and the legal profession in general. Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) will now continue as an option following the pandemic through confidential sessions conducted remotely with widely available commerical off-the-shelf technology. More than 5,500 mediators are currently certified by the Florida Dispute Resolution Center. These professionals meet specific standards set by the Florida Supreme Court in the areas of county, family, circuit, dependency, and appellate mediation. In most cases, discerning counsel and their client parties select the mediator. However, a mediator may be appointed by the court when litigants are unable to select their own. Mediation week brings annual focus on ADR work and highlights how individuals, administrative agencies, and businesses can use mediation to develop efficient and customized solutions to conflicts. See more here--

Friday, October 15, 2021

Certified Mediator Procedures Change

A new operating procedures policy was issued today by the Florida Dispute Resolution Center (DRC). Pursuant to rule 10.140, Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, Operating Procedures and Authority, the Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules and Policy, new procedures are effective November 1, 2021, and supersede any conflicting provisions. Numerous revisions to the certification and renewal processes include:
The 50% continuing mediator education (CME) live format requirement has been rescinded. - Mediators will only be required to complete 16 hours of CME regardless of how many certifications are held. - Mediators may begin earning CME hours for next cycle upon submission their renewal for previous cycle. - Inactive status allows a mediator’s certification to remain inactive for up to five years. - Lapsed certifications are eligible to renew their certifications up to a maximum of five years.
See more here--

Sunday, October 3, 2021

ADR Section Supports ODR

The Florida Supreme Court last month extended the public comment deadline on a rules petition designed to promote greater use of remote technology or online dispute resolution (ODR) in court proceedings, including mediation. Specifically, the COVID-19 Workgroup’s proposed rules changes begin with Florida Rule of General Practice and Judicial Administration 2.530, Communications Technology. The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Section's Executive Council has now filed a comment on behalf of its members in support of the continued use of remote technology. This was done after surveying members about personal experiences with remote proceedings over the past eighteen months of the coronavirus pandemic and their opinions regarding the proposed rules changes. The Florida Bar ADR Section favors enhancing the dispute resolution process through modernization while also increasing efficiency and lowering costs for the participants. It appears the Proposed Rules will assist to meet that goal, and as such the ADR Section supports the Workgroup proposed changes to Rules 1.700, 1.720, 1.730, 1.750, 9.700, 9.720, and 9.740 with the changes suggested through an official comment filed. The use of communication technology and remote participation at mediation and arbitration provides ready access to these proceedings by adding an additional means to attend and often lowers barriers to participation. Scheduling is easier when travel time is eliminated. The cost of attending is less when there are no lodging and parking costs either. Any early concerns as to communication technology and security have been addressed to the satisfaction of most practitioners and participants. The ADR Section also anticipates that these systems will continue to evolve and improve over time. See more here--