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Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution


We know that very few civil matters reach disposition through trial—but what do we really know about how civil cases do reach disposition? What number of civil cases reach disposition through settlement? What number of civil cases reach settlement through court-connected “alternative” dispute resolution (ADR)? Do we know enough about the results of courtconnected ADR to be able to detect potential patterns of systemic discrimination? This Article examines what we know from federal and state court systems’ public reporting and finds: 1) only a minority of federal district courts and state court systems report regarding dispositions through settlement; 2) there is no consistent logic in how these settlements are categorized and reported; and 3) while a goodly number of court systems reference their use of ADR, only two states report essential “bare bones” data including the numbers of dispositions produced by ADR. The Article urges the need for such data collection and reporting—as well as collection and reporting regarding other data elements—to ensure that court-connected and court-reliant ADR are making a difference, a good difference.

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Yeshiva University,Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

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