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Alternate Dispute Resolution Options

RULE 100. Mediation and Other Forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

(a) Application.

At any time after a complaint is filed, a party may file a motion with the court requesting mediation for the purpose of achieving a mutually agreeable settlement. The motion must address how the mediation should be conducted as specified in paragraph (b), including the names of any acceptable mediators. If domestic violence has occurred between the parties and mediation is requested in a matter covered by AS 25, mediation may only be ordered when permitted under AS 25.20.080, AS 25.24.060, or 25.24.140. In matters not covered by AS 25, the court may order mediation in response to such a motion, or on its own motion, whenever it determines that mediation may result in an equitable settlement. In making this determination, the court shall consider whether there is a history of domestic violence between the parties which could be expected to affect the fairness of the mediation process or the physical safety of the domestic violence victim. Mediation may not be ordered between the parties to, or in, a case filed under AS 18.66.100 - 18.66.180.

(b) Order.

An order of mediation must state:

(1) the name of the mediator, or how the mediator will be decided upon;

(2) any changes in the procedures specified in paragraphs (d) and (e), or any additional procedures;

(3) that the costs of mediation are to be borne equally by the parties unless the court apportions the costs differently between the parties; and

(4) a date by which the initial mediation conference must commence.

(c) Challenge of Mediator.

Each party has the right once to challenge peremptorily any mediator appointed by the court if the "Notice of Challenge of Mediator" is timely filed pursuant to Civil Rule 42(c).

(d) Mediation Briefs.

Any party may provide a confidential brief to the mediator explaining its view of the dispute. If a party elects to provide a brief, the brief may not exceed five pages in length and must be provided to the mediator not less than three days prior to the mediation . A party's mediation brief may not be disclosed to anyone without the party's consent and is not admissible in evidence.

(e) Conferences.

Mediation will be conducted in informal conferences at a location agreed to by the parties or, if they do not agree, at a location designated by the mediator. All parties shall attend the initial conference at which the mediator shall first meet with all parties. Thereafter the mediator may meet with the parties separately. Counsel for a party may attend all conferences attended by that party.

(f) Termination.

After the initial joint conference and the first round of separate conferences if separate conferences are required by the mediator, a party may withdraw from mediation, or the mediator may terminate the process if the mediator determines that mediation efforts are likely to be unsuccessful. Upon withdrawal by a party or termination by the mediator, the mediator shall notify the court that mediation efforts have been terminated.

(g) Confidentiality.

Mediation proceedings shall be held in private and are confidential. The mediator shall not testify as to any aspect of the mediation proceedings. Evidence of conduct or statements made in the course of court-ordered mediation is inadmissible to the same extent that conduct and statements are inadmissible under Alaska Rule of Evidence 408. This rule does not relieve any person of a duty imposed by statute.

(h) Dismissal.

If the mediation is successful, the party requesting mediation shall prepare a stipulation for dismissal which dismisses all or such portions of the action as have been concluded by mediation as agreed upon at the mediation.

(i) Other Forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

(1) Early Neutral Evaluation. Parties or the court may use the procedure set out in this rule to refer a case to early neutral evaluation instead of mediation. All provisions of this rule apply to a case in which early neutral evaluation has been ordered under paragraph (a).

(2) Arbitration. Parties may stipulate to arbitration without further order of the court.

(3) Settlement Conference. At any time after a complaint is filed, a party may file a motion with the court requesting a settlement conference with a judge for the purpose of achieving a mutually agreeable settlement. The court may order a settlement conference in response to such a motion or on its own motion.

(4) Local Dispute Resolution. Parties may agree to resolve disputes, subject to court approval, by referring them to tribal courts, tribal councils, elders' courts, or ethnic organizations.

© 2004, Lori Merdes

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