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Self-Help Civil ADR

Alternative Dispute Resolution ("ADR" for short) is the common name for many different ways of settling a disagreement without suing in court.

ADR includes mediation, arbitration, neutral evaluation, special masters and referees, binding arbitration and settlement conferences.

  • ADR Overview

    This page has an overview about different types of ADR. You can learn about ADR options you can find at court, and who to talk to about your ADR options.

  • When to use ADR

    This page has information on whether or not you can make the other side use the ADR process, and whether or not you can use ADR after the complaint is filed.

  • Mediation & Evaluation

    This page covers mediation, arbitration and neutral evaluation basics, and answers questions such as what happens if you can reach an agreement in mediation.

  • Early Settlement Conf.

    If you have a general civil case you can ask for an Early Settlement Conference, where parties (and their lawyers) meet with a neutral who tries to help them reach an agreement to settle the case before trial.

  • Judicial Arbitration

    Judicial Arbitration is like a trial, but it is less formal and there is no jury. Each side presents its case to a "neutral" arbitrator who is either a lawyer or a retired judge, and who does not take sides or give advice.

  • Referees/Special Masters

    In complex cases, parties can use a Referee to help move the case along, such as helping the parties exchange papers or helping to settle some issues to shorten the trial. In Federal Court they are called Special Masters.

  • Mandatory Settlement Conf.

    The purpose of the Mandatory Settlement Conference is to settle your case. A temporary judge will hear your Mandatory Settlement Conference. All temporary judges are experienced lawyers who volunteer to serve as Settlement Conference Judges.

  • ADR Resources

    This page lists ways to get more information on Alternative Dispute Resolution, including through community programs such as Project Sentinel, or the county's Dispute Resolution Program.