Maryland Launches Mediation Program in Appellate Court
Richert, David, Judicature
The Maryland Court of Special Appeals has launched a pilot program of court-ordered mediation. People who appeal their civil cases to Maryland's second highest court may ask for or be ordered to mediation before pursuing further litigation. The pilot program was created to reduce the cost and time for appeals, improve outcomes for litigants, prevent multiple appeals in the same case, and ease the Court of Special Appeals' heavy caseload. Mediation has been provided for more than a decade in Maryland's trial courts.
"The experience of our own trial courts and civil appellate mediation programs in other states suggests that this new program offers the potential to resolve cases before the parties incur the expense and burden of preparing an appeal," said Chief Judge Peter B. Krauser of the Court of Special Appeals. "Mediation provides an opportunity for litigants to devise solutions of their own accord. Because parties in mediation determine the future of their own controversy, mediated agreements have shown to be more sustainable than court-mandated resolutions. Overall, we hope that this program will benefit all Marylanders by improving outcomes, increasing the Court's efficiency, reducing the time and cost involved in lengthy appeals and, in general, improving access to justice. …