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YouTube ADR is a process offered by the court and others to help people resolve their disputes without going to trial. By using ADR you may not have to file a lawsuit, or if you do file a lawsuit, you may be able to avoid a trial.

ADR is usually less formal, less expensive, and less time-consuming than a trial and may also give the parties more control over when and how their dispute is resolved. It provides opportunities for litigants to reach an agreement using a problem-solving approach rather than the more adversarial approach of litigation. ADR can also be advantageous when the parties have a relationship to preserve, such as business partners, landlord/tenant, and family relationships. ADR can help the parties find win-win solutions that may increase the parties’ overall satisfaction with both the dispute resolution process and the outcome.

The most commonly used ADR processes in civil cases are mediation, arbitration, and settlement conferences.


Mediation View Page

In mediation, a neutral person called a "mediator,” helps the parties try to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of the dispute. The mediator does not decide the dispute but helps the parties communicate so they can try to settle the dispute themselves. Mediation avoids the formal constraints of the courtroom and leaves control of the outcome with the parties. More Information and FAQs.

Arbitration View Page

In arbitration, a neutral person called an "arbitrator,” hears arguments and evidence from each side and then decides the outcome of the dispute. Arbitration is less formal than a trial, and the rules of evidence are often relaxed. Arbitration may be either "binding" or "nonbinding." More Information.

Settlement Conferences View Page

Settlement conferences may be either mandatory or voluntary. In both types of settlement conferences, the parties and their attorneys meet with a judge (or a temporary judge) to discuss possible settlement of their dispute. The judge does not make a decision in the case but assists the parties in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the case and in negotiating a settlement. Mandatory settlement conferences are often held close to the date a case is set for trial. More Information and FAQs.

Court Directed Mediation View Page

If the parties are amenable, the Court will assign suitable civil cases (in which the amount demanded is up to $70,000), to one of the mediators on the court directed mediation panel for two hours of free mediation. Assignment generally occurs at the Case Management Conference. More Information.

Small Claims and Unlawful Detainer (Eviction) Free Mediation View Page

The Superior Court of Monterey County has partnered with the Monterey College of Law and Mandell-Gisnet Center for Conflict Management to offer mediation for Small Claims and Unlawful Detainer (eviction) cases before filing, after filing, or on the day of trial. The program is voluntary and at no cost to the litigants, but is only available if both parties are self-represented.

The NEIGHBOR Project View Page

The NEIGHBOR Project provides dispute resolution services for contentious conflicts that would otherwise result in multiple enforcement or court proceedings.


Question How is the Monterey Court’s ADR process initiated in civil cases that are already filed?
ADR will be discussed at the Case Management Conference (see Local Rule 6.08 – 6.10), which is to be held 180 days after the case is filed. It is the court's expectation that litigants will utilize some form of ADR -- i.e. the court's mediation and arbitration programs or other available private ADR options -- as a mechanism for case settlement before trial.

Question If I haven’t filed a civil case yet, can I use an ADR process to resolve my case?
Yes.  You may use private mediation or arbitration to resolve your case. Please contact the Monterey County Bar Association for attorneys who provide mediation or arbitration services.

Question How long does it take?
The time for an ADR process varies depending upon the complexity of the case. Most cases require only one meeting to come to a resolution, but some cases may require additional sessions.

Generally court-ordered ADR processes must be completed by a date set by the judge, usually within 90-120 days of the date on which the judge referred the case to an ADR process.

Question What are my responsibilities if a case settles before the ADR session?
If a settlement occurs prior to a scheduled ADR session, counsel for the parties, or the parties themselves, should immediately notify the court as well as the mediator, arbitrator or settlement judge.

Question How is the Monterey Court’s ADR process initiated in civil cases that are already filed?
If this webpage does not answer your ADR-related questions, please contact:




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