A recent message from the presiding judge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court announced that the court anticipates elimination of all non-mandatory elements of the court’s ADR programs next year. At a meeting of the court’s ADR committee on December 5, 2012, we were told to anticipate reduction or elimination of all services by the court’s ADR program as of June 30, 2013. Worst case, the court staff would no longer be administering any kind of ADR program using outside mediators, but the court would still retain its judicial settlement officers.
The most positive way of spinning this news would be to say that it is still business as usual for court-referred ADR for the next six months, but after that we should expect that the court panels will be phased out in part or totally eliminated.
The Southern California Mediation Association intends to be part of the solution to this drastic reduction or possible elimination of court-annexed ADR. We have formed a task force to prepare a plan to assist the community in continuing to obtain mediation services, and to help our members find new mediation opportunities. Suggestions are welcome. (One way to do that is to join our LinkedIn group and post comments here.)