WHEREAS, it appears that it will be necessary to have a variety of dispute resolution modalities as we move into the twenty-first century;

WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association supports the use of alternative dispute resolution techniques where appropriate as a way to resolve conflicts;

WHEREAS, there is a need to support and coordinate the various efforts in dispute resolution throughout the Commonwealth, both inside and outside of the court system;

WHEREAS, twenty states are creating or have created statewide offices of dispute resolution and conflict management, and many of the states that have created such offices have experienced great success from their efforts;

WHEREAS, there is legislation proposed to create a Statewide Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management;

WHEREAS, the proposed legislation would create an independent administrative agency, which we understand is to be amended to provide for executive, legislative, and court representatives;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Governors expresses its support for the concept of a statewide office of dispute resolution that would include representatives appointed by the court, legislative, and executive branches on the Commission and that would have powers and responsibilities that could include some or all of the following:

  • collect information about existing dispute resolution programs around the state and the country;
  • widely disseminate information and about the kinds of dispute resolution programs being used and the evaluations of such programs;
  • evaluate and support those local dispute resolution programs that show promise;
  • encourage and support the establishment of peer mediation programs in schools;
  • assist the bench and bar in the development of alternate dispute resolution processes within the courts;
  • assist the executive and legislative branches of the Commonwealth in the development of alternate dispute resolution processes within and without the courts;
  • provide a mechanism to assist in resolution of intra-governmental disputes.

ADOPTED: June 27, 1996