CAADRS / Sample Court ADR Rules

Sample Court ADR Rules

One of the most important tasks a court must undertake in the creation of an ADR program is to write rules for it that are clear, unambiguous, and thorough. To help courts with this process, CAADRS has identified good rules governing ADR programs in the courts. The rules, which are listed below, come from state and federal courts for programs for civil, family, child dependency, probate, bankruptcy, and appellate cases. They cover mediation, arbitration, early neutral evaluation, summary jury trials, and other processes. The rules are to be used as samples only; please be aware that the rule may have changed since being selected for this site.

Rule Selection

After examining almost 1000 rules, we selected 16. Our goal was to have one to three samples for each type of program. When more than one rule is provided for a particular case type, we have tried to select rules that differ significantly from one another. In making the decision as to which rules to include, we assumed that they would be used as models that could be adapted to a court’s specific context. With this in mind, while also recognizing that no rule is perfect, we selected rules that were well-written, with no parts that were totally off-base. Further, the rules had to cover all the necessary bases. Finally, the rules had to be written and structured in a way that they could be useful to other jurisdictions. Rules that had a language or structure that were specific to a particular jurisdiction were not selected.

We also made some judgment calls and decided not to include rules containing some of the more controversial issues in the field. The samples do not contain annotations that discuss in detail whether to use a particular item and why; therefore, certain controversial issues were left out. So, for example, no sample rule has a good faith requirement for the participants because there is disagreement about whether they are a good idea. Those looking for rules with such a requirement can find them among the other rules on this site that are accessible through the Resource Center.

Once those criteria were met, we then looked for rules that in some way rose above the others. Rules were selected if they were particularly good in dealing with a specific issue, or if they were particularly well organized and written.

Rule Summaries

To aid courts in selecting rules for their own use, we created a cover page for each rule that provides a summary of the rule, including the case types and processes covered and any related statutes or rules. The summary is followed by bulleted lists highlighting the especially good aspects of the rule as well as interesting approaches to a particular topic.

Some of the bullets mentioned above discuss the benefits and drawbacks of a specific aspect of the rule. Other bullets offer links to resources that provide further discussion about a specific topic that will better inform those writing rules. We encourage you to follow those links to get more in-depth and nuanced information regarding some of the more important aspects of an ADR program.

Support and Advice

We are very grateful to the JAMS Foundation for its generous support of the collection and summarization of these court ADR rules. CAADRS also extends our gratitude to the Advisory Committee for this project, whose advice we greatly value. Any errors are ours, however, and not those of the Foundation or the Committee.

List of Rules

State Courts

General ADR

Ninth Judicial District of Georgia: Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules

South Carolina: Circuit Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules

Civil Cases - Mediation

Maryland: Title 17 - Alternative Dispute Resolution

North Carolina: Revised Rules Implementing Statewide Mediated Settlement Conferences and Other Settlement Procedures in Superior Court Civil Actions

South Carolina: Circuit Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules

Utah: Rule 4-510 - ADR for Civil Cases in District Courts

Civil Cases - Arbitration

North Carolina: Revised Rules Implementing Statewide Mediated Settlement Conferences and Other Settlement Procedures in Superior Court Civil Actions

South Carolina: Circuit Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules

Utah: Rule 4-510 - ADR for Civil Cases in District Courts

Washington, DC: Superior Court Civil Arbitration Rules

Family Mediation

North Carolina: Uniform Rules Regulating Mediation of Child Custody and Visitation Disputes Under the North Carolina Custody and Visitation Mediation Project

North Carolina: Rules of the North Carolina Supreme Court Implementing Settlement Procedures in Equitable Distribution and Other Family Financial Cases

North Carolina: Rules Implementing Mediation in Matters before the Clerk of the Superior Court


California: San Francisco Superior Court Rule 12.46 - Dependency Mediation Program

Illinois: Circuit Court of Cook County Rule 19A.19: Child Protection Mediation Program

Appellate Alabama: Rules of Appellate Mediation

Federal Courts


U.S. Bankruptcy Court - District of Hawaii: Rule 9019-2 and Guidelines for Alternative Dispute Resolution


U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California: Local ADR Rules

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee: Rule 16-ADR

Appellate Eleventh Appellate Circuit: Rule 33-1 and Mediation Guidelines

Limitations and Disclaimer

These rules are presented to assist courts in the writing of their own rules. This site is not an official source of the rules and should not be relied upon as such. For an official publication of a rule, please contact the respective court.