Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Case Evaluation

Circuit Court Case Evaluation is an alternative dispute resolution process which requires that most civil cases be evaluated by a panel of three experienced attorney "evaluators" who review written and oral presentations and evaluate the monetary value of each case. It is designed to encourage parties to settle their lawsuits short of time consuming and expensive trials by the threat of monetary sanctions if the evaluation is rejected. Once a case is evaluated by a panel, a party who rejects that evaluation faces the possibility of paying the actual costs, including reasonable attorney fees, of the opposing party for the remainder of the case unless the rejecting party improves its position at trial. These costs can be in the tens of thousands of dollars. Thus, there is strong incentive to resolve cases.

The ADR Clerks are responsible for implementing the court rule. They schedule hearings and in appropriate civil cases, receive the written case summaries, track the evaluations and follow up on the required documentation. Cases not resolved in the case evaluation process are scheduled for trial.


Mediation is a process created by Michigan court rule, MCR 2.410, in which parties are referred to a mediator who helps them resolve their dispute, rather than litigate it in court. A judge can refer a case to mediation after consultation with the parties.

Reserve a room in the Paw Paw Courthouse to use for mediation or other meetings.

2020 Approved Case Evaluator / Mediator Lists

Case Evaluator / Mediator Applications

Case Evaluator and Mediator applications are accepted at any time. An ADR Advisory Committee consisting of the ADR Clerk and Judicial Council review and approve/disapprove applications. See LAO C36 2020-01 Alternative Dispute Resolution Plan for details. Case Evaluators must re-apply every 7 years to remain on this list, pursuant to MCR 2.404(B)(5). Mediators must show proof of 8 hours of Advanced Mediation Training (AMT) every 2 years, pursuant to MCR 3.216(G)(3) and must re-apply every 7 years to remain on this list, pursuant to MCR 3.216(F)(2)(a).

All applications should be submitted to:
ADR Clerk
Van Buren County Courts
212 E Paw Paw Street
Suite 220
Paw Paw, MI 49079

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at 269-657-8200 ext. 2213.