People come to Florida courts seeking justice and help resolving disputes. The state’s judicial branch is set to highlight the role mediation can play in fulfilling this part of its mission.

Chief Justice Charles Canady has proclaimed October 17-23 as Mediation Week, marking the importance of alternative dispute resolution as an effective substitute to litigation.

Alternative dispute resolution has been used by Florida courts for more than 30 years. Mediation, like the rest of the work of Florida’s courts, continued during the pandemic through sessions conducted remotely. More than 5,500 mediators are certified by the Florida Dispute Resolution Center. These professionals meet specific standards set by the Florida Supreme Court. Certifications are offered in the areas of county, family, circuit, dependency, and appellate mediation. In most cases, parties select the mediator. However, a mediator may be appointed by the court when litigants are unable to select their own. Certified mediators and those individuals who are not certified but who are appointed by the court to mediate cases are bound by the ethical standards contained in rules established by the Supreme Court.