Starting the ADR Process

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Alternatives for resolving disputes are available at all stages of a dispute - including after a case is filed with the court. The Contra Costa Court has an ADR Program to help you find a mediator, neutral case evaluator, or judicial arbitrator after a court case is filed.  For the most common mediation lists, click here.

Alternatives before filing a case:

There are alternatives available for use before filing a case. You can find private mediators and arbitrators listed in the telephone directory, or you can do a search on the Internet. Try entering "Mediator" and your City and State. You will find mediators serving your area. 

There are also non-profit dispute resolution agencies, often with sliding scale fees, that will handle neighborhood, landlord tenant, consumer complaints, and a whole array of conflicts.

Alternatives once a case is filed:

The person who starts a court case will be given a Plaintiff's packet. That packet has several forms including:

  • The Case Management Statement (CM-110) requires all parties to discuss alternative dispute resolution options. It also allows you to indicate which process might work for you in this case.
  • A Stipulation to Attend ADR and Delay the First Case Management Conference for 90 days. If all parties to the dispute agree to ADR, then this form can be filed. In limited jurisdiction cases this stipulation needs only the court clerks signature. In unlimited cases, the judge must sign the stipulation. In either case the stipulation should be filed 15 days prior to the first scheduled case management conference. The court will process the stipulation and notify the ADR department. We will set your case for ADR and send you by fax (or mail if needed) all the necessary instructions and the appropriate lists of neutrals.

In many cases the judge may determine that your case is appropriate for ADR and suggest that you give it a try.  Stipulating to ADR can save you a trip to court.



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