ADR: Paths to Settlement
The Statewide ADR Commission was created on August 1, 2011 by the New Mexico Supreme Court Order No. 11-8110.
The Commissioners are appointed by the NM Supreme Court, and the roster reflects the current composition of the Commission. The Commission’s mission is to develop, organzie and monitor alternative dispute resolution (ADR) programs and services in the state courts of New Mexico. The state courts are the thirteen (13) Judicial District Courts, the fifty-four (54) Magistrate Courts, the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court (“Metro Court”), the Court of Appeals and the New Mexico Supreme Court. The Commission strives to save the time, money and frustration of both courts and litigants by supporting court-connected quality alternatives to trials.
Why Was the Commission Created?
New Mexico became the first state to commission a comprehensive study of ADR for all of the state courts. In 2010, the New Mexico Supreme Court commissioned the National Center for State Courts to conduct a statewide, comprehensive assessment of alternative dispute resolution services in the appellate, district, metropolitan, and magistrate courts. The Center provided the Supreme Court with a Report, “Advancing Alternative Dispute Resolution in the New Mexico Judiciary: Key Strategies to Save Time and Money”, issued on April 15, 2011. The report proposed, in part, that a single organization be created to provide centralized assistance to the courts for the promotion of effective use of ADR services in order to save time and money for courts and litigants. On August 1, 2011, the New Mexico Supreme Court created the Commission and directed it to develop, organize and monitor court-connected ADR services. The Administrative Office of the Courts then hired a Statewide ADR Coordinator to assist the Commission in the efforts.
What Does the Commission Do?
The Commission collaborates with public, private and nonprofit organizations; garners and accepts grant funds; supports court-connected alternatives to long and expensive trials; promotes the use of court-connected ADR; develops and recommends standards, competencies and ethics for “neutrals” (practicioners of ADR); recommends and institutes pilot programs and initiatives; objectively assesses, examines, and recommends improvements in existing court-connected programs; and otherwise promotes the effective and productive operations of court-connected alternative dispute resolution programs in New Mexico courts.
Here are some activities and achievements of the Statewide ADR Commission:
- Held a Summit for representatives of state courts to meet with ADR experts to explore interests and share information.
- Developed a brochure to describe mediation – what it is, its benefits, and how to find a mediator.
- Created a video illustrating the use of mediation with a story based in New Mexico and a problem that could happen to anyone.
- Provides information on this website about ADR and the state courts, and offers resources for both courts and the public.
- Collaborates with the Judicial Education Commission to provides up to eight scholarships annually to Judicial personnel to attend mediation training at the University of New Mexico School of Law.
- Provides assistance to state courts for the creation and operation of court-connected ADR services, including new and innovative programs (sometimes called ‘pilot projects’).
- Proposed legislation to provide a sliding scale fee for ADR services, to give greater access to services for low income litigants.
- Proposed to the New Mexico Supreme Court a set of statewide rules to guide courts on the management of ADR services and programs.