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Supreme Judicial Court Rules

Uniform Rules on Dispute Resolution

Supreme Judicial Court Rules Uniform Dispute Resolution Rule 3: Administrative structure for court-connected dispute resolution services

Effective Date: 01/01/2005
Updates: Adopted May 1, 1998, effective June 1, 1998 Amended July 21, 2004, effective January 1, 2005

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(a) Appointment of Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution

There shall be a Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution consisting of up to twenty persons appointed by the Chief Justice for Administration and Management in consultation with the Chief Justices of the Trial Court departments. Each department of the Trial Court shall be represented on the standing committee. Members shall be appointed for three year terms and may be reappointed for additional terms when their terms expire. The Standing Committee shall be composed of: judges; other court personnel; attorneys; members of the public; academics; and providers of dispute resolution services. In order to achieve diversity in the membership of the Standing Committee, the Supreme Judicial Court shall make funds available for expenses associated with participation in the Committee.

(b) Duties of Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution

The Standing Committee shall advise the Chief Justice for Administration and Management of the Trial Court with respect to standards for court-connected dispute resolution services and the implementation and oversight of court-connected dispute resolution services throughout the Trial Court. The Standing Committee shall work to ensure access to court-connected dispute resolution services, to ensure the quality of the services, and to foster innovation in the delivery of the services.

(c) Trial Court departments

The Chief Justice of each Trial Court department may appoint an advisory committee on that department's court-connected dispute resolution services composed of judges, other court personnel, attorneys, academics, members of the public, and providers of dispute resolution services, including representatives of community mediation programs where they provide services to that court department. In order to achieve diversity in the membership of an advisory committee, the court shall attempt to make funds available for expenses associated with participation in the committee. An advisory committee shall function so as to avoid conflict of interest or the appearance of conflict of interest. Each such Chief Justice may designate an employee as the department coordinator of court-connected dispute resolution services. Every Trial Court chief justice who approves dispute resolution programs pursuant to Rule 4(a) shall develop written policies and procedures governing program operations and record-keeping that will enable evaluation of the program.

(d) Local dispute resolution services coordinator

The First Justice or the justice with administrative supervision of each court or division within every Trial Court department shall designate one court staff member as the dispute resolution services coordinator for that court or division. By agreement of affected First Justices, one person may be designated as dispute resolution services coordinator for divisions or courts in more than one department which are located in the same or a nearby building. The dispute resolution services coordinator shall maintain information about court-connected dispute resolution services and assist the public in making informed choices about the use of those services. The coordinator, in collaboration with the program or programs to which the court division refers cases, shall develop a system to record and compile data as required by Rule 6(g).

(e) Technical assistance for implementation of dispute resolution services

The Chief Justice for Administration and Management shall, subject to appropriation, provide advice and consultation to Trial Court departments, courts, advisory committees and designated dispute resolution staff to assist in developing and operating court-connected dispute resolution services in accordance with the rules.

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Updates: Adopted May 1, 1998, effective June 1, 1998 Amended July 21, 2004, effective January 1, 2005
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