Choose which type of alternative dispute resolution will work best for your case. The court offers several ADR options: mediation, arbitration, and neutral evaluation. Each of these programs provides a rather informal way of examining the issues in dispute so that the case may be resolved in a speedy but fair manner.
In mediation, each party presents his or her view of the case. A neutral mediator then helps the parties negotiate a settlement, and may meet privately with each party, back and forth, to achieve this. If no settlement is reached, the case is referred back to the judge to proceed with litigation. Mediation is the most popular form of ADR.
In arbitration, each party presents his or her evidence. A neutral arbitrator, acting somewhat like a judge, reviews the evidence and makes a decision as to which party prevails. The arbitration may or may not be binding. If it is not binding and at least one of the parties rejects the arbitrator’s decision, the case is referred back to the judge to proceed with litigation.
Neutral Evaluation (HENCE)
In neutral evaluation (Helpful Early Neutral Case Evaluation), the parties meet with a neutral evaluator early in the litigation to discuss the case. The evaluator helps the parties identify and clarify the central issues of the dispute, assess the merits of the case, assist with discovery planning, promote the informal exchange of information, and facilitate the settlement process.
Select A Mediator
The court maintains a panel of attorneys who serve as mediators, arbitrators, and/or evaluators in Solano County cases and who have expertise relevant to the type of case filed. If the parties select an attorney who is not on the panel, the selection must be approved by the court. To obtain contact information and profiles of the attorneys on the panel see our mediator directory.
File The Paperwork
To initiate the ADR process, a party may select “ADR” on the Case Management Conference Statement and request ADR at the Case Management Conference or submit a “Stipulation and Order – Alternate Dispute Resolution” to the court. A party must also submit an evaluation form after the ADR process is completed.
The court maintains a civil mediation center located in the Old Solano Courthouse, 580 Texas Street, Fairfield, where a mediation, arbitration, or neutral evaluation may be held. To reserve a room, or two rooms, at one of the court’s civil mediation centers, call 707-207-7413. The civil mediation center in Fairfield provides a list of the attorneys on the ADR panel and any ADR forms required for those who do not have internet access.
Pay For Mediation
The court requires the fees for ADR to be split equally by the parties at the rate set by the mediator/arbitrator/evaluator unless otherwise ordered by the court. Fees are usually charged on an hourly basis. The court offers “no fee” mediation to parties who cannot afford to pay for mediation. A party may request “no fee” mediation at the Case Management Conference or by filing a “Stipulation and Order – Alternative Dispute Resolution” (form located above) and attaching a declaration stating why mediation services should be provided at no cost to the parties.