US Court annexed arbitration, mediation and ADR are a familiar feature of US litigation. It is reported that Texas and California have allowed State Courts for many years to impose on the parties’ conciliation or other ADR. After the 1980 Civil Procedure Reform Act, which requested 10 Districts to develop ADR programs, the Alterative Dispute Resolution Act has authorized the Court to order the parties to use ADR methods.

The last step along this line is Presumptive ADR, which – in spite of the choice of such a term – seems to refer to an automatic “mandatory” program of ADR.

After the New Jersey courts, now the New York Courts are making automatic referrals to one of the various alternative types of dispute resolution.

An Order of Reference to Appropriate Dispute Resolution is to be used by such Courts unless the parties have chosen their own ADR method.

The Order provides for (i) conferencing with court attorney-referee or law clerk, (ii) mediation, (iii) arbitration, (iv) neutral evaluation, (v) summary jury trial, (vi) settlement conference with a judge, or with a former judge, or with a judicial hearing officer.

This new step is expected to speed up the use of ADR and to substantially reduce the backlog.