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ADR Program


ADR Forms Arbitrator Roster Mediator Roster
ADR Frequently Asked Questions Arbitration Primer Mediation Primer


Alternative dispute resolution or ADR generally refers to a broad range of processes designed to assist parties to resolve disputes. Under local rule DUCivR 16-2 and the ADR Plan, the District of Utah offers two less-formal dispute resolution methods: arbitration and mediation. The District offers these at a small fee to the parties, and referral to ADR is made on a voluntary basis unless the presiding judge otherwise orders. Civil cases filed in the District, except those excluded under DUCivR 16-2(c), may opt either for arbitration or mediation. Bankruptcy adversary proceedings, appeals from Bankruptcy Court, and reviews of judgments from administrative law forums, however, qualify only for mediation.

To opt into ADR before discovery is complete, parties may elect arbitration or mediation on the Certification of Selection of ADR form that the District Court requires each party to submit with the attorney report. After discovery, parties may still opt for ADR by submitting a motion and proposed order for referral to ADR to the presiding judge. Parties select their arbitrator or mediator from a list of experienced attorneys that the Court has appointed to serve as neutrals.

With approximately ninety-five percent of all civil cases being resolved before trial, ADR can serve as an effective tool for early case evaluation and resolution, resulting in less time and lower costs than traditional litigation. For more information about the Court's ADR Program, contact the ADR Coordinator at 801-524-6114.

Litigation vs. Arbitration vs. Mediation

Features Litigation Arbitration Mediation
Parties Retain Control No No Yes
Voluntary No Yes Yes
Adversarial Yes Yes No
Speedy Result Usually No Usually Yes Yes
Cost of Result High Moderate Low
Formal Proceeding Yes Usually Yes No
Evidentiary Hearing Yes Yes No
Type of Result Win-Lose
Binding Result Yes By Agreement By Agreement

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In the District Court's arbitration program, the arbitrator hears and decides the case with the formal standards of evidence and discovery relaxed to the degrees agreed on by the arbitrator in consultation with the parties and their attorneys. If the parties agree, they can stipulate to having a panel of three arbitrators jointly hear the case. Unless the parties stipulate or the assigned judge orders otherwise, the arbitration award is non-binding, and the parties have thirty days after the filing of the award to request a trial de novo. All proceedings are confidential and awards are sealed until entered as a final judgment.


In the District of Utah's mediation program, a neutral third party, the mediator, helps the parties to negotiate a mutually satisfactory settlement to their dispute. Meeting jointly and separately with the parties, the mediator helps the parties: (i) clarify their needs and interests; (ii) improve communication; and (iii) generate mutually agreeable options to resolve the dispute. The mediation ends when the parties either (i) craft a mutually acceptable agreement or (ii) reach an impasse. As with arbitration, the mediation process is confidential and the parties' expenses in time and money typically are significantly lower that what a trial would entail.

ADR Program Fees

Court-appointed neutrals set their own rate. Hourly compensation applies to each hour of service in an arbitration hearing or mediation conference. Parties split the neutral's fee evenly between the plaintiff and defendant unless otherwise agreed. Parties should make payment arrangements with the assigned neutral at their first meeting. An insolvent party may petition the court to waive their portion of the neutral's fee.

ADR Roster Neutrals

Parties may select an arbitrator or mediator from a roster of highly experienced and court-appointed attorneys who specialize in a variety of legal areas. Parties also may request a neutral who is not on the roster to serve pro tem as the arbitrator or mediator. The Court requires all of its ADR roster neutrals to have practiced law for at least ten years and to complete ADR training. However, pro tem neutrals may be any person with subject matter expertise who has been approved by the Court. All arbitrators and mediators serve at no expense to the parties.

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