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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 137161 Find in a Library
Title: Science in the Court: Is There a Role for Alternative Dispute Resolution?
Author(s): D R Hensler
Corporate Author: Rand Corporation
United States of America
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 23
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Rand Corporation
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
Publication Number: RAND/RP-109
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines whether the procedures of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) might remedy perceived problems in court procedures for dealing with scientific questions in medical malpractice, products liability, and toxic tort litigation.
Abstract: The article first reviews the concerns that have been raised about court resolution of scientific issues and the criticisms that have been voiced regarding medical malpractice, products liability, and toxic tort litigation; it then identifies the links between these two sets of concerns. This is followed by an examination of the objectives of the ADR movement; a description of the major forms of ADR in use today; and a discussion of their use in medical malpractice, products liability, and mass toxic tort cases. The empirical evidence on the consequences of using each of these forms for key aspects of dispute resolution is summarized. The article concludes with a discussion of whether and how ADR can contribute to an improvement in court procedures for dealing with scientific questions. The author advises that current forms of ADR have limited utility for the resolution of core scientific questions that underlie mass toxic tort litigation and certain medical malpractice disputes. Within court settings, ADR procedures do not use experts as decisionmakers and do not attempt to change decisionmaking rules. ADR procedures that operate outside court settings have more utility for the resolution of scientific disputes, since they often use expert decisionmakers, have developed special procedural rules for resolving complex disputes, and have the capacity to incorporate various kinds of scientific evidence and expert advisers. 73 footnotes
Main Term(s): Alternative dispute settlement; Expert witnesses
Index Term(s): Civil proceedings; Medical malpractice; Products liability
Note: Reprinted by permission from Law and Contemporary Problems, V 54, N 3 (Summer 1991), P 171-193.
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