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Judicial circuit launches mediation program
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In June, superior, state, magistrate and probate courts in the six counties comprising the Atlantic Judicial Circuit began collecting a $7 filing fees in all civil actions. The money from the fees was used to develop and implement a court-connected circuit-wide alternative dispute resolution program, known as the AJC ADR program.  
Alternative dispute resolution, commonly referred to as mediation, is a process by which a mediator or neutral facilitates settlement discussions between parties. In most cases, mediation allows litigants an opportunity to resolve disputes in a faster and more cost-effective manner than traditional litigation.
The program will require litigants who can afford to pay to make payment directly to the mediator. The cost of mediation for indigent litigants would be paid through the program. Although only certain civil superior court cases will be initially referred to mediation, circuit officials expect the program will be expanded in the future to include all civil cases filed in all courts within the circuit.     
The program is being headed by Superior Court Judge Robert L. Russell III.
Anyone interested in becoming a mediator for the program can call program director Paula Hendrix at 368-5111 or go to the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution’s Web site at
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