Mediation Services Being Studied in Maryland
Mediation services and other forms of alternative dispute resolution systems are being tested in Maryland to see how effectively they can be implemented in the state's judicial system. This study is being conducted by a team of professors from Salisbury University, and it is funded by a grant of $750,000 from the state's judiciary.
Can Civil Mediation Replace Litigation in Some Cases?
This study hopes to uncover precisely what kinds of cases would be better suited for alternative dispute resolution. Even more specifically, what kinds of cases are best handled by what kind of alternative dispute resolution. Some cases are better handled in arbitration, others in mediation.
Members of this team are hopeful that ADR will go a long way toward saving time and money without loss of effectiveness in the judicial system. According to Haleigh LaChance, the project's coordinator, “We are hoping we can not only show that ADR is effective in the long run, but come up with the best practices for how it can be used throughout the state.”
Study Begins with Family Mediation and Misdemeanors
The researchers are beginning with misdemeanor, especially family related disputes, which could lead to a system for family mediation. Additionally, the results of the study at this level could include designing civil mediation processes for landlord-tenant disputes and other civil cases.
Brian Polkinghorn, the Center for Conflict Resolution's executive director, said that in many cases resolved by ADR processes, they “are quicker, more efficient and more robust because the parties come up with (solutions) themselves (rather) than having a third-party judge decide the winners and losers.”
The panel of this study also includes Patrick McDermott of SU's School of Business, Lorig Charkoudian, Community Mediation Maryland's executive director, Ruth Obar from Renbar Consulting LLC, plus four highly qualified field researchers.