Year started: 2001
Neutrals: Volunteers from bar association
Eligibility: pro se litigants in small claims court
Free Mediation Services Available?: No
Since the fall of 2001, the McHenry County Circuit Court has opened its doors to the mediation of small claims pro se cases. Attorney-mediator H. Case Ellis and Associate Judge Michael T. Caldwell of the 22nd Judicial Circuit, members of the McHenry County Bar Association's Civil Practice Committee, collaborated in designing and implementing the pilot program with the sponsorship of the Committee. Judge Michael J. Sullivan was also instrumental in getting the program up and running by obtaining the support of other judges. The program is governed by local rule 7.08: Small Claims Voluntary Pro Se Mediation.
The mediation program is intended to provide a welcome alternative to litigants who are not well-acquainted with the courtroom. The cases referred to mediation are those in which both parties are pro se and which involve disputes no greater than $10,000. On the day that the disputing parties return to court for their trial assignment, they are given the option of having their case mediated immediately. Mediation sessions take place every other Thursday in the jury rooms beside Judge Caldwell's courtroom. The fifteen mediators involved in the program are volunteer attorneys who are part of the McHenry County Bar Association. Each mediator has been trained within the program itself and all have litigated previously within the county. Mediators are assigned by the mediation coordinator to cases on a rotating basis. The mediation coordinator is a member for the Civil Practice of the McHenry County Bar Association
All parties in interest must attend the mediation, which usually takes around 30 to 45 minutes. The mediation involves both joint sessions and caucusing with the parties. The mediations carry into a second session less than 10% of the time. The program settles approximately 75% of the 45 to 50 cases it mediates a year. After the case has been mediated, it is sent back to the courtroom with either a signed settlement agreement and dismissal or an order stating that the case has not been settled. If the case is not resolved through mediation, the parties are given a trial date.
Illinois 22nd Judicial Circuit. Jan. 1, 2019
Resource Type: Rules - Non-Court
Abstract: The local rules for Illinois' 22nd Judicial Circuit serving McHenry County.
Part 7.08. Small Claims Voluntary Pro Se Mediation: Under these rules, pro se litigants in small claims court will be given the option on their return date to immediately m...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 ...
Dan WallisCourt Administrator
McHenry County Government Center
2200 N. Seminary Ave.
Woodstock, IL 60098