Court-ordered mediation of civil cases has become an accepted part of the litigation process in a number of states and in some federal courts.' The widespread growth of court-ordered mediation is not difficult to explain. First of all, the process appears to produce settlements, although because most cases settle anyway, it is difficult to say that court-ordered mediation reduces trial rates. It does, however, at least provide a structured opportunity for settlement discussions, if the parties are so inclined. Second, court-ordered mediation is a process usually paid for by the parties themselves. From the courts' perspective, it is not a significant expense. Little wonder, then, that the courts have embraced the use of court-ordered mediation.



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