Mediation and Court Congestion in Texas: 1980-2010 Empirical Data
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Problems in the U.S. legal system became a significant public issue during the 1970s and 1980s; “court congestion” was one of these. Alternative processes (Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR) were proposed as a major component of legal reform, and ADR programs were established in several jurisdictions. In Texas, ADR legislation was enacted in 1983 and 1987. Since then, ADR (primarily mediation) has become widely practiced in many areas of the state. Data collected by the Office of Court Administration which includes the type of case, the number of cases filed, and the type of disposition of the case for district courts in Texas is used to determine whether ADR has been effective in reducing court congestion in Texas. The results fail to show a significant impact from ADR. ADR continues to enjoy wide support, however, and this apparent contradiction between the empirical results and the acceptance of ADR is explored. Theoretical concerns are also discussed. ADR may be addressing more fundamental goals than merely reducing litigation.
Proctor, Michael (2015). Mediation and Court Congestion in Texas: 1980-2010 Empirical Data. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from