Year started: 2007
Neutrals: Mediators on another court roster or on an approved court's roster, paid by the parties.
Eligibility: All chancery cases
Free Mediation Services Available?: No
On January 1, 2007, Cook County Circuit Court launched the first mediation program in Illinois devoted solely to chancery cases. Local Rule 21 establishes a court-annexed mediation program designed to provide "an expeditious and expense-saving alternative to traditional litigation."
Cases may be referred to mediation by motion of the party, stipulation, or order of the court. Every contested matter pending before the Chancery Division is eligible for mediation; however, cases are judged appropriate for referral on an individual basis. Cases the court considers to be most appropriate for mediation are those involving ongoing relationships and requests for relief. Not considered to be suitable are those cases involving a significant question of statutory or constitutional interpretation, mortgage fraud, or rescue.
Mediators are selected by the parties from a roster of approved mediators within 21 days of referral. If the parties cannot agree on a mediator within that time, the court will appoint one for them. To be approved for the court's roster, mediators must certify to one of the following: having been approved to be on the roster of a Court-Annexed Major Civil Case Mediation Program in Illinois, being on the roster of a court-approved organization, having mediated at least ten major civil case mediations, having completed a court-approved 40-hour mediation training, or having at least 15 years of litigation experience and at least 30 hours of mediation training.
Parties pay the mediator a proportionate share of his or her fee unless otherwise indicated by the court. The court has also partnered with the Center for Conflict Resolution in Chicago to provide free mediation services for cases uniquely suited to community mediation. Such cases include those in which the parties are pro se or in which they cannot afford to hire a private mediator, as well as cases in which there is a matter of community or public concern.
The first mediation is to be held within five weeks of referral. Whether discovery is to continue throughout the mediation process is decided on a case-by-case basis. At least ten days prior to the mediation, each party must enter the required submissions to the mediator. At mediation, the party, or party's representative, that has full settlement authority must be present along with counsel. In class action cases, the court decides whether the class representative is required to attend. All communications at the mediation are deemed confidential and cannot be used in future court proceedings. However, if a later dispute arises over the settlement agreement, a party may move for the court to enforce the agreement. Parties to the agreement may waive confidentiality to the extent needed to testify regarding this dispute.
At the end of mediation, the mediator reports back to the court whether the mediation took place and what the outcome was. If agreement was reached, the parties are required to file a memorandum of agreement.
Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County. Jan. 1, 2020
Resource Type: Rules - Court
Abstract: The local rules for Illinois' Circuit Court of Cook County.
Part 13- Domestic Relations Proceedings: Rule 13.4(e) refers to and provides rules regarding the Circuit Court of Cook County's Family Mediation Services.
Part 19 - Child Protection Media...Illinois Supreme Court. Article I - Illinois Supreme Court General Rules, Oct. 10, 2001
Resource Type: Rules - Court
Abstract: This rule authorizes judicial circuits to undertake mediation programs. Circuits electing to establish mediation program are directed to adopt rules for the conduct of mediation proceedings and to submit them to the Supreme Court. The Rule specifies ...
Chancery Division Office of the Presiding Judge
Circuit Court of Cook County
50 W. Washington St.
Chicago, IL 60602
phone: (312) 603-4181