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Alternatives Within the Judicial System

Jim R. Carrigan, Resolution and Avoidance of Disputes (1984)


One of the things that I think we need to look at when we are talking about alternatives to the standard litigation route for resolving disputes is the question how these methods of resolving disputes relate to the traditional methods in the courts. Specifically, we may find that by the time it occurs to somebody to try an alternative to litigation, the case is already in the courts. We may find that people for one reason or another don't want to avail themselves of these kinds of alternatives and that one party or another decides that it is going to court despite knowledge of the availability of these methods. Or, most commonly, we find that people simply aren't aware of alternatives, and they wind up in the courthouse, in litigation simply because they are just not knowledgeable about the alternatives available. Perhaps the court system can educate people about these methods.

It is important for us to recognize that many people are going to be in court, that there are means the courts have available to encourage or facilitate resolution of disputes other than the full panoply of trial. One doesn't always have to go to the judge or jury with a case, and I think we are very pleased to have with us here today somebody who is in an excellent position to tell us about what some of these means that the courts have available are.