What Kinds of Cases can be Subject to Mediation in Arkansas?
civil (noncriminal) disputes can be successfully mediated and is especially beneficial for disputes involving
contracts, leases, small business ownership, employment, and divorce. Mediation can be
particularly useful in these areas because it is designed to identify and cope
with divisive interpersonal issues not originally thought to be part of the
For example, if one neighbor sues another for making outrageous
amounts of noise, the court will usually deal with only that issue. If the
court declares one neighbor a winner and the other a loser, it may worsen
long-term tensions. In mediation, however, each neighbor will be invited to
present all issues in dispute. It may turn out that the overly loud neighbor
was being obnoxious in part because his neighbor's dog constantly pooped on his
lawn or his neighbor's pickup blocked a shared driveway.
Because mediation is
designed to look at and fix the bigger picture, it's a far better way to
restore long-term peace to the neighborhood, home, or workplace than going to
How Long does Mediation Take?
A: Mediation almost
always takes less time than litigation. Depending on the issues, it can even
take place in one day or a half-day session.
How can I be sure Mediation Will Produce a Fair Result?
A: In mediation, you
and the opposing parties will work out a solution to your own dispute. Unless
you freely agree, there will be no final resolution. This approach has several
advantages over going to court:
Is Mediation Required in Arkansas?
is not required by statute; but judges have the discretion to force parties
in any suit to seek mediation under:
16-7-202. Duty and authority of the courts
(a) (1) It is the duty of each trial and appellate court of this state, and each
court is hereby vested
with the authority, to
encourage the settlement of cases and controversies pending before it by
suggesting the referral of a
case or controversy to an appropriate dispute resolution process
agreeable to the parties.
(2) On motion of all the parties, the court must make such an order of
reference and continue the
case or controversy pending
the outcome of the selected dispute resolution process.
(b) In addition, each
circuit and appellate court of this state is vested with the authority to order any civil, juvenile,
probate, or domestic relations case or controversy pending before it to
(c) If a case or controversy is ordered to mediation, the parties may:
(1) Choose an appropriate mediator from a roster
provided by the Arkansas Alternative Dispute
Resolution Commission of those
mediators who meet the commission's requirement guidelines
for that type of case; or
(2) Select a mediator not on the commission's roster, if
approved by the court.
(d) (1) A party may move to dispense with the order to mediate for good cause
(2) For purposes of this subsection, "good cause
shown" shall include, but not be limited to, a
party's inability to pay the
costs of mediation.
(e) Each court is further granted the discretionary authority to make, at the
request of a party,
appropriate orders to confirm and enforce the results produced by the dispute
If your dispute has
undiscovered or undisclosed issues, mediation -- unlike a structured court
battle -- gives you the opportunity and the flexibility to ferret them out.
Because mediation doesn't
force disputants to undergo the fear and sometimes paranoia of the courtroom
-- where a judge or jury can stun either party with a big loss -- people who
choose mediation tend to be more relaxed and open to compromise.
This site and any information contained herein is intended for informational
purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on
any legal matter.