Welcome to the Augusta Judicial Circuit (AJC)
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program
Established in 2009, this office currently serves the Superior, State, Probate, Magistrate, and Civil Courts in Richmond and Burke Counties.
What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?
Alternative Dispute Resolution, usually referred to as ADR, is mediation or any method other than litigation, for the resolution of disputes. ADR opens the lines of communication and allows parties to explore all possibilities of settling the dispute without going to court. Generally, ADR is a process that is easier, faster, less expensive, and less formal than going to court.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a confidential and informal ADR process by which a neutral person, known as the mediator, facilitates negotiations between the parties in an attempt to assist the parties in working out a solution that is fair, reasonable, and acceptable in an effort to resolve the dispute. Unlike a judge, the mediator does not impose a decision upon the parties. The mediator’s role is to assist parties in identifying what they can agree on and help them negotiate points on what they cannot agree on. Mediation attempts to change disputes from a “win-lose” to a “win-win.” Mediation empowers parties to reach their own decisions versus having outcomes determined by others. Reaching and signing an agreement is strictly voluntary; and, if parties do not reach an agreement, they do not lose their rights to a trial. If an agreement is reached at mediation, it is binding upon all parties and enforceable as a settlement agreement.
Cases are referred to mediation by court order. Any party to a dispute may request the court refer the case to mediation. Requests shall be made by contacting the AJC ADR Program at [email protected].
Referrals to mediation from the Superior, State, Probate, or Civil Court: The mediator is selected by the parties and compensated by the parties. Parties shall agree on a mediator from the program roster at www.augustaga.gov/ADR/Roster. If parties are unable to agree, notify the ADR Office at [email protected] and one will be assigned. If parties have no contact with each other, notify the ADR Office to assist you in the selection process.
Referrals to mediation from the Magistrate Court: The mediator is assigned by the ADR Program and the mediator’s fee is paid by the program at the program rate.
All mediators serving in the Augusta Judicial Circuit ADR Program must be registered and in good standing with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution (GODR). https://godr.org/.