Advancing the Use of ADR Statewide
The Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office (MACRO) serves as a one-stop shop for inquiries concerning mediation and other alternative dispute resolution processes. MACRO also operates an e-mail listserv for dispute resolution practitioners, informing them of upcoming events, training programs, job opportunities, and other pertinent information about dispute resolution. Call us at 410-260-3540 or email us at email@example.com for more information.
Dispute Resolution Associations
Maryland has four membership associations for dispute resolution practitioners and other mediation proponents:
- Association for Conflict Resolution, Maryland Chapter
- Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution
- Maryland Program for Mediator Excellence
- Maryland State Bar Association ADR Section
Many national and international organizations also help support the work of dispute resolution practitioners and provide valuable information online about mediation in various contexts. For more information, explore the following links:
- American Arbitration Association
- American Bar Association, ADR Section
- Association for Conflict Resolution
- CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution
- National Association for Community Mediation
- Policy Consensus Initiative
Maryland is home to eighteen community mediation programs that provide free or low-cost mediation services at the neighborhood level. Each program relies on trained volunteer mediators and has a strong emphasis on quality assurance, making the community mediation field an excellent area for new mediators to get experience and hone their skills.
To help strengthen existing community mediation programs and support the development of new centers, MACRO created the Maryland Association of Community Mediation Centers (MACMC), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, now known as Community Mediation Maryland (CMM). Working collaboratively with CMM and its board, MACRO provides start-up grants and performance-based funding for community mediation programs throughout Maryland. MACRO and CMM can also provide a list of community mediation centers and an outline of the ten-point community mediation model they follow. For more information, call Lorig Charkoudian, Ph.D., Executive Director of CMM, at 301-270-9700 or visit www.marylandmediation.org.
District Court of Maryland
The District Court strongly supports the use of mediation in civil cases and has taken steps to encourage local State’s Attorney's Offices to refer appropriate criminal cases to mediation. Mediation provides an opportunity for addressing and resolving the underlying interpersonal conflicts that are inherent in many criminal and civil disputes.
The District Court is committed to offering mediation services at no cost to the parties. Thus, the District Court works in partnership with community mediation centers, referring appropriate cases to mediation prior to scheduled court hearings. In addition, several jurisdictions rely on the services of volunteer mediators who offer mediation in the courthouse on the day of trial, often coordinated by local bar associations. Many newly trained mediators volunteer their services in the District Court as a way of getting experience and developing mediation skills. For more information on mediation in the District Court, call Jonathan S. Rosenthal, Esq., Executive Director of ADR Programs, 410-260-1676 or visit www.courts.state.md.us/district/adr/home.html.
The use of mediation in the Maryland circuit courts is governed by Titles 9 and 17 of the Maryland Rules. These rules outline ADR procedures in the circuit courts and set forth the training and experience required for mediators or other dispute resolution practitioners who are interested in receiving circuit court case referrals. Circuit court mediators adhere to the Maryland Standards of Conduct for Mediators, Arbitrators and Other ADR Practitioners, an ethical code developed by MACRO's Professional Responsibilities Committee. Copies of the rules, standards, mediator application forms and other relevant information can be obtained from the MACRO Website by clicking the links on the left side of this page. Prospective mediators must submit application forms and supporting documents to the clerk of each circuit court from which the mediator would like to receive referrals.
Although mediation programs vary considerably from one court to the next, all appropriate contested custody and visitation cases are sent to mediation. Each circuit court has a family services coordinator on staff who helps manage this process. Many jurisdictions also have active ADR programs for other civil cases. For more information on mediation in the circuit courts, call Julie R. Linkins, Esq., Court ADR Resources Director for MACRO at 410-260-3540.
Court of Special Appeals
The Court of Special Appeals' ADR Division offers two alternative dispute resolution processes to parties with pending litigation in the court.
Mediation: Parties work with one or more impartial mediators who assist the parties in reaching their own voluntary agreement for complete or partial resolution of the issues on appeal, in addition to any other issues relevant to the underlying dispute between the parties.
Prehearing Conference: Parties work with an incumbent or retired Court of Special Appeals judge to discuss the contents of the record and/or record extract, pending prehearing motions, scheduling matters related to the appeal, consolidation of appeals, and any other issue aimed at streamlining the appellate process.
The Court of Special Appeals offers these processes at no cost to the parties. For more information on ADR in the Court of Special Appeals, call Mala Malhotra-Ortiz, Director of ADR at 401-260-3717 or visit www.mdcourts.gov/cosappeals/mediation.
MACRO’s Work in Other Areas
In addition to the areas outlined above, MACRO works to develop and promote mediation and other dispute resolution projects in schools, state and local government agencies, criminal and juvenile justice programs, and businesses. MACRO also helps raise public awareness of mediation and its benefits through events, presentations, and publicity campaigns. MACRO works closely with dispute resolution practitioners throughout Maryland and coordinates the statewide Maryland Program for Mediator Excellence (MPME) to assist mediators in their efforts to provide high quality dispute resolution processes and to develop best practice standards for the dispute resolution field. For more information about the MPME, go to www.mpmeonline.org. In addition, MACRO sponsors conferences on mediation and alternative dispute resolution in various contexts and provides funding support to help establish new dispute resolution programs. For more information on MACRO and its work, call 410-260-3540.