News from the Courts

Issue April 2013

Conciliation training guidelines modified

Trial Court Chief Justice Robert A. Mulligan approved a change in the qualification training requirements for court-connected conciliators, as recommended by the Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution. The amended guidelines, effective March 1, 2013, permit those who have completed an approved mediation training program to serve as a conciliator in a court-approved program subject to the approval of the conciliation program and the completion of the necessary court orientation by the program.

Convergence of the mediation and conciliation training requirements and a proliferation of court-approved conciliation programs in the Trial Court over the past year, led to the committee's recommendation. The alternative methods for meeting the eight-hour training requirement for conciliation are deemed satisfied if the person has completed a 30-hour mediation training program and the requisite court orientation.

Accordingly, Article III of the Alternative Methods for Conciliators in the guidelines implementing Rule 8 of the Uniform Rules on Qualification Standards for Neutrals has been amended to add: "Completed the training requirements for a mediator, as set forth in Rule 8(c) in addition to a court orientation as an approved conciliation program requires."

Pursuant to Rule 8(e), conciliators must be members of the Massachusetts bar, be in good standing with the Board of Bar Overseers and must have practiced law in Massachusetts for at least three years.

District Court Judge Mark D Mason serves as chair of the Trial Court Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution. Mason or Timothy M. Linnehan, acting director of the Support Services Department, are available to address questions.

JNC seeks applications

The Judicial Nominating Commission seeks applications for new vacancies, one at the Superior Court, four at the District Court and one at the Boston Municipal Court. Remaining application deadlines include:

  • The Holyoke and Northamption District Courts on Thursday, April 11; and
  • The Boston Municipal Court on Thursday, April 25.

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"State of the Massachusetts Court System" for Fiscal Year 2012 posted

The annual report on the "State of the Massachusetts Court System for Fiscal Year 2012" has been posted.