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The Effects of Mandatory Mediation: Empirical Research on the Experience of Small Claims and Common Pleas Courts
Roselle Wissler
33 Willamette L. Rev. 565 (1997)
Open Access  |  Library Access


This article reports the findings of empirical studies that examined the effects of mandatory mediation in small claims and general civil cases. The article begins with a discussion of the factors that led to the adoption of mandatory mediation and concerns that have been raised about its use. The studies compared cases that were required to use mediation and cases that voluntarily chose mediation in terms of the outcomes of mediation and party and attorney perceptions of the process, the mediator, and the outcome. Settlement rates were somewhat lower when mediation was mandatory than when both parties chose to mediate, with intermediate settlement rates when only one party requested mediation. Among cases that settled, there were no differences in the outcome or in parties' assessments of the agreement or compliance with it. There were few differences between mandatory and voluntary mediation in parties' perceptions of the mediation process and the mediator.

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