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Legal Statutes: Maryland

UPDATED April 19, 2017

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Title 17. Alternative Dispute Resolution

back to topRule 17-102. Definitions

In this Chapter, the following definitions apply except as expressly otherwise provided or as necessary implication requires:

(a) Alternative Dispute Resolution. “Alternative dispute resolution” means the process of resolving matters in pending litigation through a settlement conference, neutral case evaluation, neutral fact-finding, arbitration, mediation, other non-judicial dispute resolution process, or combination of those processes.

Committee note: Nothing in these Rules is intended to restrict the use of consensus-building to assist in the resolution of disputes. Consensus-building means a process generally used to prevent or resolve disputes or to facilitate decision making, often within a multi-party dispute, group process, or public policy-making process. In consensus-building processes, one or more neutral facilitators may identify and convene all stakeholders or their representatives and use techniques to open communication, build trust, and enable all parties to develop options and determine mutually acceptable solutions.

(b) Arbitration. “Arbitration” means a process in which (1) the parties appear before one or more impartial arbitrators and present evidence and argument supporting their respective positions, and (2) the arbitrators render a decision in the form of an award that is not binding, unless the parties agree otherwise in writing.

Committee note: Under the Federal Arbitration Act, the Maryland Uniform Arbitration Act, [FN1] at common law, and in common usage outside the context of court-referred cases, arbitration awards are binding unless the parties agree otherwise.

(c) Fee-For-Service. “Fee-for-service” means that a party will be charged a fee by the person or persons conducting the alternative dispute resolution proceeding.

(d) Mediation. “Mediation” means a process in which the parties work with one or more impartial mediators who, without providing legal advice, assist the parties in reaching their own voluntary agreement for the resolution of the dispute or issues in the dispute. A mediator may identify issues and options, assist the parties or their attorneys in exploring the needs underlying their respective positions, and, upon request, record points of agreement reached by the parties. While acting as a mediator, the mediator does not engage in arbitration, neutral case evaluation, neutral fact-finding, or other alternative dispute resolution processes and does not recommend the terms of an agreement.

(e) Mediation Communication. “Mediation communication” means speech, writing, or conduct made as part of a mediation, including communications made for the purpose of considering, initiating, continuing, or reconvening a mediation or retaining a mediator.

(f) Neutral Case Evaluation. “Neutral case evaluation” means a process in which (1) the parties, their attorneys, or both appear before an impartial person and present in summary fashion the evidence and arguments supporting their respective positions, and (2) the impartial person renders an evaluation of their positions and an opinion as to the likely outcome of the dispute or issues in the dispute if the action is tried.

(g) Neutral Fact-Finding. “Neutral fact-finding” means a process in which (1) the parties, their attorneys, or both appear before an impartial person and present evidence and arguments supporting their respective positions as to particular disputed factual issues, and (2) the impartial person makes findings of fact as to those issues. Unless the parties otherwise agree in writing, those findings are not binding.

(h) Settlement Conference. “Settlement conference” means a conference at which the parties, their attorneys, or both appear before an impartial person to discuss the issues and positions of the parties in the action in an attempt to resolve the dispute or issues in the dispute by agreement or by means other than trial. A settlement conference may include neutral case evaluation and neutral fact-finding, and the impartial person may recommend the terms of an agreement.
Adopted Oct. 5, 1998, eff. Jan. 1, 1999. Amended Nov. 1, 2001, eff. Jan. 1, 2002.