Year started: 2003
Neutrals: Professionals paid by the parties
Eligibility: Most civil actions involving represented parties
Free Mediation Services Available?: No
The mediation program for civil cases in the Western Division of the Northern District of Illinois began in January 2003. Cases eligible for mediation through the program are all civil actions except those involving pro se litigants, mortgage foreclosures, Social Security, prisoner civil rights, and bankruptcy appeals. Participation in the program is largely voluntary. The Court may order cases to mediation; however, parties may move to be relieved from this requirement. In practice, cases are not referred to mediation if the parties do not believe mediation to be appropriate.
The program was set up to be flexible for both the parties and the court, but to encourage mediation early in the case. According to the Commentary to the ADR Local Rules, "[t]hese Rules are intended to reflect the consensus of the committee and the Court that mediation become part of the case management process and that, like the case management process, there be flexibility in the use of Court annexed alternative dispute resolution. It is the intent of these Rules that the Court, working with the parties may refer cases to mediation at any time prior to trial, but most frequently, at the time of entry of the case management order."
Parties are free to choose any mediator, although the court maintains a roster of approved mediators. Mediators on the roster must either be lawyers admitted to practice for at least seven years or be appropriately-credentialed professionals in another area. Mediators of any background need to be knowledgeable about civil litigation in the federal court and have have completed a court-approved training.
Parties and the mediators negotiate the fee paid the mediators. The parties also negotiate the percentage each pays the mediator. The rule authorizes mediators to charge reasonable fees for preparation time as well as time spent in mediation.
Jan. 1, 1970
Abstract: These rules authorize the use of mediation for all civil cases except those involving pro se litigants, mortgage foreclosures, social security, prisoner civil rights, and bankruptcy appeals. Under these rules, a case may enter mediation on stipulatio...
Michael SerratoreJudicial Support Manager
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
219 S. Dearborn St.
Chicago, Illinois 60604