Mediation Frequently Asked Questions
Mediation / Arbitration Frequently Asked Questions
What programs are offered through the ADR department of the courts in the State of Utah?
Mediation and arbitration offer options to the traditional judicial system, affording the citizens of Utah a full spectrum of choices for resolving disputes.
ADR programs have been shown to provide effective resolutions to disputes, and can be faster, less expensive, and more satisfying to the parties than litigation. The Alternative Dispute Resolution programs encourage the use of ADR to the extent that it serves the interests of the involved parties. It is not intended to replace traditional litigation, only to supplement it, and to provide more flexibility in resolving disputes.
In the 1994 session, Utah's legislature passed a bill (78B-6 Pt 2) mandating the Judicial Council to implement a program utilizing Alternative Dispute Resolution in the state courts. The program was implemented by the Judicial Council and Supreme Court rules on January 1, 1995. The Court Rule (4-510) applies to cases filed in the Second, Third, and Fourth Judicial Districts. The program encourages the use of ADR to the extent that it serves the interests of the involved parties. It is not intended to supplant traditional litigation, only to supplement it, and to provide more flexibility and choice of methods used to resolve disputes.
Mediation is a collaborative meeting in which the disputing parties seek to resolve their differences through the use of a skilled, neutral third party, the mediator. As a dispute resolution process, mediation has the advantages of being informal, confidential, and collaborative. It proceeds more quickly than litigation, and often results in less expenditures of time and money. The final agreement is not imposed upon the disputants; instead the disputants design it according to their own interests. Finally, it is not an adversarial process, so the parties have the potential to preserve their relationship once the process has concluded.
Arbitration is an evidentiary hearing, similar to a trial, in which the arbitrator hears arguments, reviews evidence, rules on motions where appropriate, and determines awards. It is less formal than litigation and somewhat more collaborative in that the parties choose the arbitrator together and agree upon the extent of discovery. It can be convened and conducted more quickly than a formal trial, and it is also confidential. In the case of non-binding arbitration, the award can be accepted and reduced to an agreement, or rejected by the parties in favor of a trial de novo.
The ADR video can now be viewed on the Utah State Courts' YouTube channel.
A party, believing that continuing in mediation is no longer productive, may terminate participation and shall notify the other party and the court.
Upon conclusion of an ADR process, the plaintiff shall notify the court of the outcome of the ADR process on a form provided by the court (ADR Dispositional Notice).
The parties may select an ADR provider from the court roster. The roster is a list of qualified mediators and arbitrators who work throughout the state. The roster includes a biographical sketch about each provider, the location and description of the facility where services will occur, areas of professional expertise, fees, and the judicial district(s) where the provider will serve.
The court provides a list of mediators as a service to the citizens of Utah. It is not an endorsement of these professionals; rather it is a list of the people in your area who currently work as ADR providers.
Any party may petition the court for a waiver of all or part of the fees so allocated on a showing of impecuniosity or other compelling reason. If such waiver is granted, the party shall contact the Director who will appoint a pro bono ADR provider.
In addition, if you require financial assistance, Utah Dispute Resolution provides mediation services on a sliding fee scale.
Providers set their professional rate. The maximum hourly fee charged by individual mediators and arbitrators is indicated in the Court Roster. Please note mediators charge various fees ranging from $30.00-300.00 per hour. Fees are usually based on experience and background. Most mediation sessions typically run 3-4 hours but may be more or less depending on the issues involved. The fees are usually split among the parties unless ordered or arranged otherwise. For example: A mediator hired at $100.00 an hour conducts a four hour mediation The charge will be $400.00 for the mediation session. If there are 2 parties involved, each party will owe $200.00 to the mediator.
Discovery (the pre-trial exchange of information between the parties) may proceed during the mediation process. In other words, parties may continue to prepare for trial while attempting to settle their case using mediation. In arbitration, the parties may conduct discovery once they have met and established what the limits will be.
Parties may opt out of mediation at anytime. However, if a party unilaterally terminates a non-binding arbitration procedure after the hearing has begun, that party will be responsible for all of the ADR provider's fees, and possibly reasonable attorney's fees for the other side. A mediator may also terminate the process if he/she determines that the parties are unable to participate meaningfully, or that a reasonable agreement is unlikely to be achieved.
If parties are unable to reach an agreement, the court is notified and the case is returned back to litigation.
For general questions or if you are not sure what program your mediation is under: