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September 29, 2012


There is an evolution taking place in the way in which we resolve our legal disputes . Budgetary pressures have forced layoffs, closure of courts on certain days, reduction of business   hours   causing Judicial vacancies to go unfilled . The result is hampering the resolution of cases by the postponing of trial dates and in some cases delaying civil trials   as much as 2-5 years  .

            In response to these forces Mediation and Arbitration have become more widely utilized by parties .  Mediation is  nonbinding. The parties agree on a Mediator   and then present their cases informally. The parties are then separated and for the remainder  of the session the Mediator goes back and forth in an attempt to narrow the differences and ultimately  settle the case . Arbitration is binding on the   parties.  However    once again   the presentation  of evidence is informal   cutting down the cost of litigation.

A new development is the emergence of the private trial. The Private Trial is just like an actual courtroom trial except the parties select the judge , possibly a retired judge and  private   jurors are  recruited for professional or personal expertise . The parties are in control of scheduling which can be daunting in the Trial Court where there is little flexibility, trial days are sometimes only  a half day thereby extending the length trial  and the parties are subject to interruptions  in their trial due to other court business . In addition Video Conferencing and Skype   can be used for out of state witnesses in the Private Trial.



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