But Is It Good: The Need to Measure, Assess, and Report on Court-Connected ADR
Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 22, pp. 427-451, 2021
Texas A&M University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 21-27
26 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2021 Last revised: 13 Oct 2021
Date Written: May 1, 2021
We know that very few civil matters reach disposition through trial—but what do we really know about how civil cases do reach disposition? What number of civil cases reach disposition through settlement? What number of civil cases reach settlement through court-connected “alternative” dispute resolution (ADR)? Do we know enough about the results of courtconnected ADR to be able to detect potential patterns of systemic discrimination? This Article examines what we know from federal and state court systems’ public reporting and finds: 1) only a minority of federal district courts and state court systems report regarding dispositions through settlement; 2) there is no consistent logic in how these settlements are categorized and reported; and 3) while a goodly number of court systems reference their use of ADR, only two states report essential “bare bones” data including the numbers of dispositions produced by ADR. The Article urges the need for such data collection and reporting—as well as collection and reporting regarding other data elements—to ensure that court-connected and court-reliant ADR are making a difference, a good difference.
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