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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 93211 Find in a Library
Title: Report on the National Conference on Minor Disputes Resolution, May 1977
Author(s): F E A Sander
Corporate Author: American Bar Association
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 70
Sponsoring Agency: American Bar Assoc
Washington, DC 20036
American Bar Association
Sale Source: American Bar Assoc
Special Cmtte on Resolution of Minor Disputes
1800 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After discussing the procedures and effectiveness of small claims courts in resolving minor disputes, this summary of conference proceedings considers forms of dispute settlement outside the courts involving disputes to recurring conference themes, dilemmas and tensions identified, and promising experiments.
Abstract: With reference to small claims courts, the conference considered issues of access and use as well as intake and screening, the use of the court by institutional plaintiffs, court personnel (judges and lawyers), and the enforcement of court rulings. The discussion of dispute settlement procedures outside the courts examined the use of neigborhood justice centers and the arbitration of small claims where disputes between individuals are involved. Consideration of disputes between individuals and organizations focused on the mechanisms for the use of an ombudsman and administrative grievance procedures. Six prerequisites of an effective grievance procedure were presented by one conference speaker. included. Recurring themes of the conference are identified as (1) general ignorance about existing dispute settlement mechanisms and the extent to which disputants' needs are being met, (2) the need to involve the affected 'community' in the development of a system that will have acceptability and accessibility, (3) how present problems stem from an overemphasis on the traditional adversary system, and (4) the need to develop mechanisms that will achieve greater power equalization between disputants. Some dilemmas and tensions identified by the conference were the allocation of resources and whether to opt for or against the resolution of minor disputes in the courts. Some promising experiments mentioned are the use of a flexible intake and after-process for small claims courts adapted to the needs of the particular case, the comparison of different types and structures for neighborhood justice centers, and the development of the most effective mechanisms for resolving disputes between individuals and organizations. The appendixes contain the conference program, a list of conference participants, and a brief list and descriptions of alternative dispute mechanisms throughout the country.
Index Term(s): Alternative dispute settlement; Arbitration; Neighborhood justice centers; Small claims courts; Workshops and seminars
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