Multi-Option Appropriate Dispute Resolution Project (MAP) - San Mateo Superior Court

ADR icon Project Name: Multi-Option Appropriate Dispute Resolution Project (MAP)
Court: San Mateo Superior Court
   Documents: Program Presentation
Civil ADR Information Sheet
    Sample Program Forms
   Links: Program Website
    Kleps Award Website
    Kleps Award Video

Overview/Program Description:

The court partnered with the local bar association and community mediation center to offer a comprehensive range of dispute resolution services for noncriminal cases. The project encompasses mediation, arbitration, and hybrid dispute resolution services. Small Claims, Family, and Juvenile mediation programs are offered free or at a reduced rate. Civil, Complex, and Probate are market rate with reduced fees or fee waivers available to those who need assistance; and each mediator is required to take at least one pro bono case a year.

Staff members meet with counsel to help match each case to an appropriate resolution process and an appropriate mediator or arbitrator. In the areas of Juvenile and Family mediation, staff members conduct thorough screening with all parties in preparation for the session; assess domestic violence differentials, and provide the neutrals with background on the issues involved in the case.

Hundreds of mediators participate in the project, and all mediators and arbitrators are screened for training and experience. Professional staff is available to mediate cases and oversee approximately 50 volunteers who handle the Small Claims, Juvenile Dependency, and Juvenile Delinquency cases. An additional 20 attorneys serve as family law mediators; 100+ serve as judicial arbitrators; and approximately 150 mediators are available for Civil, Complex, and Probate cases.

Program Benefits/Savings:

Diverting cases to mediation, arbitration, and other ADR options helped reduce the caseload for bench officers and court staff. Benefits to the parties are reflected in the evaluations MAP seeks from all participants. For the overwhelming majority of parties, costs and time are reduced. Parties who participate in the outcome of their case generally have high user satisfaction rates for both the neutrals and the process.