Domestic violence-informed processes for alternative dispute resolution (Hennepin)

Hennepin was concerned that domestic violence survivors were pressured into participating in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes that may not be safe and without full information about their options. After much discussion, they reformed the processes to include screening for domestic violence by attorneys and all ADR professionals and complete information for litigants about the processes and available safety modifications. They were also advised that they could opt out of ADR if a different process was more suitable for their case. A guidance document for attorneys and ADR professionals incorporates a screening tool and has been distributed to all practitioners and is available from the court. Judges also now read a script before referring a case to ADR that outlines available options and emphasizes that participation is voluntary.