Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Judicial Branch Programs
ADR Quick Links
Attorney Application for Designation as a Non-Judicial Officer - PDF
Civil ADR Programs - Definitions
Family ADR Programs
Juvenile ADR Programs
Judges, Senior Judges and Judge Trial Referees available for the J-ADR Program- PDF
Magistrate Application
Magistrate Guidelines
Magistrate Information Release

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) can help people resolve their disputes before a trial. The Judicial Branch offers a variety of ADR methods such as mediation, arbitration and settlement conferences which usually take less time, are less formal and less expensive than a trial.

The Judicial Branch is committed to providing only those ADR programs which consist of a procedurally fair, cost effective and ethical process designed to timely resolve the type of dispute at hand, taking into account the needs of all the involved stakeholders, conducted by trained neutrals applying best practices, which leads to an outcome or a change in position the stakeholders find satisfactory, even if the case itself does not settle.

Civil ADR Programs
For more information about the following ADR Programs, please contact the Court Operations Unit at (860) 263-2734. For attorneys wishing to serve as an attorney trial referee, fact finder or arbitrator, see Application for Designation as a Non-Judicial Officer. - PDF


Can be used for: Any civil case where the judgment is expected to be less than $50,000 and a claim for a trial by jury and a certificate of closed pleadings has been filed.The parties have a right to a trial if the arbitration is not successful..
Legal Authority: Section 52-549u through 52-549aa of the Connecticut General Statutes.

Attorney Trial Referees

Can be used for: Any civil, non-jury case, if the parties consent. No jurisdictional limit on the amount in controversy. The decision imust be reviewed and approved by the court.
Legal Authority: Section 52-434(a)(4) of the Connecticut General Statutes.

Judicial-ADR (J-ADR) - Formerly Court-Annexed Mediation

Can be used for: Civil cases in which the parties wish to have a judicially conducted conference with a Judge, Senior Judge or Judge Trial Referee for no less than half a day. Parties may directly schedule the event, subject to the availability of the agreed-upon judicial official, or complete and e-file the court form “Request for Judicial Alternative Dispute Resolution “JD-CV-130 for assignment. Referral to J-ADR may also be initiated by a presiding civil judge or his/her designee.
Legal Authority: Section 51-5a of the Connecticut General Statutes.

See List of Judges, Senior Judges and Judge Trial Referees Available for J-ADR – PDF

Fact-Finding Program

Can be used for: Contract cases (except insurance claims for uninsured and/or underinsured motorists) involving money damages only (less than $50,000 and based on a promise to pay a definite sum), and a certificate of closed pleadings is filed.The decision is subject to court review.
Legal Authority: Section 52-549n through 52-549t of the Connecticut General Statutes.

Foreclosure Mediation Program

The Foreclosure Mediation Program has been set up to help certain homeowners and lenders come to an agreement about a mortgage foreclosure. Currently, the program terminates when mediation has ended with respect to any foreclosure action with a return date from July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2019. Notice Regarding Changes to the Foreclosure Mediation Program - PDF

Landlord-Tenant Mediation

Can be used for: Any housing matter as defined in Section 47a-68 of the Connecticut General Statutes, including contested or uncontested summary process and all actions regarding forcible entry and detainer, back rent, damages, and return of security deposits.
Legal Authority: Section 47a-69 of the Connecticut General Statutes.


The Commission on Civil Court Alternative Dispute Resolution adopted the following definitions in its Report and Recommendations dated December 11, 2011.

The definitions are taken from Kimberlee K. Kovach, Mediation Principles and Practices (3d ed. 2004) unless noted otherwise.

Adjudicative: in adjudicatory dispute resolution processes, such as arbitration and private adjudication, or private judging, the neutral adjudicates, or makes a decision.

Arbitration: generally conducted by a sole arbitrator or a panel of three, arbitrators listen to a typically adversarial presentation of all sides of a case, and thereafter render a decision, usually termed an award; may be binding and nonbinding in nature.

Caucus: the confidential meeting of members of one side of a dispute, usually with the mediator, to discuss options and attempt to find a resolution.

Collaborative: a process where people are encouraged to work toward resolution in a transparent and peaceful manner; the goal is to support the parties to unfold the issues and create fair agreements that will stand the test of time while emphasizing the importance of a continuing relationship after the conflict has been resolved.
International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
External Link

Conciliative: a process where the primary focus is on the interpersonal aspect of a conflict; a neutral brings parties together to discuss matters, and emphasis is placed on the mending and maintenance of relationships.

Dispute: a conflict or controversy which may become the subject of litigation. Black’s Law Dictionary (8th Ed. 2004).

Dispute Resolution Provider: a person, other than a judge acting in an official capacity, who holds himself or herself out to the public as a qualified neutral person trained to function in the conflict-solving process using the techniques and procedures of negotiation, conciliation, mediation, arbitration, mini-trial, moderated settlement conference, neutral expert fact-finding, summary jury trial, special masters, and related processes. Adapted from Title 58, Chapter 39a Utah Code Ann. 1953, as amended by Session Laws of Utah 2009.

Evaluative: a process whereby advocates present their version of a case to one or more third party neutrals, who then evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each case as presented; the primary purpose of neutral case evaluation is to provide an objective, non-binding and confidential evaluation of a case.

Facilitative: in facilitative processes, the neutral does not render a decision or an evaluation; rather, the neutral provides assistance to the parties so that they may reach an acceptable agreement.

Mediation: a process where a third party neutral, whether one person or more, acts as a facilitator to assist in resolving a dispute between two or more parties; the role of the mediator includes facilitating communication between the parties, assisting in identifying the real issues of the dispute and the interests of the parties, and generating options for settlement.

Neutral: a trained third-party who does not have a stake in the outcome of a dispute and assists the parties toward resolution.

Pretrial Conference: an informal meeting at which opposing attorneys confer, usually with a judge, to work toward the disposition of a case by discussing matters of evidence and narrowing the issues that will be tried. Black’s Law Dictionary (8th Ed. 2004).

Provider: any entity or organization which holds itself out as managing or administering dispute resolution or conflict solving services. Adapted from CPR-Georgetown Commission on Ethics and Standards of Practice in ADR, Principles for ADR Provider Organizations, May 1, 2002.

Settlement: an agreement ending a dispute or lawsuit. Black’s Law Dictionary (8th Ed. 2004).


Family ADR Programs
For more information about the Court Support Services Division (CSSD) Family Services ADR Programs, including Mediation, please contact your closest local office. For more information about the Family Matters Special Masters Programs please contact the Court Operations Unit at (860) 263-2734.

Family Mediator

CSSD Family Services Mediation/ADR Programs

Can be used for: Dissolution (divorce) cases on the limited contested and contested case lists. May address child custody, visitation, property and financial issues.
Legal Authority: Sections 46b-53a; 46b-59a of the Connecticut General Statutes and Practice Book Section 25-61.

Statements by the parties during the mediation are confidential and may not be used as evidence in court.

Special Masters-Family Matters

Can be used for: Family cases on the limited contested or contested case lists may be referred for settlement conferences.
Legal Authority: Section 51-5a of the Connecticut General Statutes.


Private ADR Programs
Alternative dispute resolution is so successful in settling cases that many attorneys, mediators and arbitration organizations offer ADR services. The parties involved in the case must choose their own private ADR provider. The Judicial Branch does not maintain rosters or endorse any particular ADR provider. Parties who are thinking about hiring a private ADR provider may want to ask the following questions:
  • What experience does the provider have?
  • What specialized education or training does the provider have?
  • Does the provider follow any rules of conduct or ethical standards?
  • What is the basis for fees charged?

Attorney Application for Designation as a Non-Judicial Officer - PDF  |  Judges, Senior Judges and Judge Trial Referees available for the J-ADR Program - PDF