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For immediate release: March 28, 2007
For further information contact: Winnie Comfort or Tammy Kendig

Present and Former Jurists and Judiciary Staff Selected for Bar Association Awards

The New Jersey Bar Association has announced that it will present "Legends of ADR" awards to several current and former justices, judges and Judiciary personnel whose work in the area of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has helped revolutionize civil practice in New Jersey. The awards will be presented during an Institute for Continuing Legal Education conference on April 12 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of ADR programs in New Jersey. Chief Justice James R. Zazzali will deliver the keynote address at the conference.

Recognizing the need for complementary programs to augment the trial courts in the resolution of civil and family cases, the New Jersey Supreme Court formed the Committee on Complementary Dispute Resolution (CDR) in 1983. The term CDR refers to court-annexed dispute resolution programs. All of those being honored as "Legends of ADR" have served the Committee in some capacity over the years.

"We congratulate all of our Judiciary colleagues who have been selected for this honor," said Judge Philip S. Carchman, acting administrative director of the courts. "Over the past 24 years, these jurists and staff members have changed the way we do business in our courts and improved the quality of justice for thousands of litigants."

Retired Supreme Court Justice Marie L. Garibaldi, who first chaired the Supreme Court Committee on CDR, will receive special honors. Other "Legends of ADR" being honored include

  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Helen E. Hoens
  • Retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Gary S. Stein
  • Retired Appellate Division Judge Herman D. Michels
  • Mercer Vicinage Assignment Judge Linda R. Feinberg
  • Retired Superior Court Judge Rosemary Higgins Cass
  • Michelle V. Perone, Esq., chief, civil court programs for the New Jersey Judiciary
  • Marilyn Slivka, retired chief, special programs for the New Jersey Judiciary
  • Thomas Farrell, retired manager, CDR programs for the New Jersey Judiciary

More than 600,000 cases are filed annually in New Jersey's civil courts. About 2 percent of those are resolved through trial. Most cases are resolved through alternative dispute resolution, including both mediation and arbitration.

In mediation, a neutral third party helps the parties to reach an agreement. During arbitration, a neutral third party or panel considers evidence presented by both sides and decides the matter. The parties agree beforehand if the decision will be binding or non-binding. The terms of the settlement can be kept confidential.

Mediation is used widely in the family division to resolve a variety of disputes including economic aspects of matrimonial cases, parenting time, custody disputes and cases involving children in out-of-home placement. In addition, the courts and local family bar associations support the Matrimonial Early Settlement Program, which can help litigants resolve issues related to matrimonial cases in an expedited manner.

CDR can save litigants significant time and money by helping them reach a resolution more quickly than cases resolved in court. In addition, CDR offers the parties a more streamlined discovery process, facilitation in identifying the core issues of the case, increased participation by the parties in the resolution of the case, increased confidentiality and a chance to preserve personal relationships between the parties.

More information on CDR programs in New Jersey courts can be found at njcourtsonline.com.

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