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Court Mediation Project


The Court Mediation Project for the 10th Judicial Circuit began as a pilot in 1999 in District Court on the double pro se small claims dockets of the four judges sitting at that time. It was founded with a grant from the Alabama Dispute Resolution Foundation and was funded thereafter by a mini-grant from the Alabama Supreme Court.


Since 2000, Court Mediation Project mediators have provided pro bono mediation services on Friday morning pro se dockets. The resolution rate has remained between 67% and 68%. Every year since the pilot program began, between 400 and 424 cases per year have been resolved by agreement instead of trial.


The Court Mediation Project has continued with each new generation of judges, attorneys and law students to coordinate volunteer mediators with each judge's docket to make mediation services available at no cost to litigants who would like the opportunity to resolve their pending small claims case prior to trial. In addition to promoting the beneficial aspects of the mediation process in the community and among members of the bench, the Court Mediation Project also coordinates with law schools and undergraduate programs throughout Alabama to give students the opportunity to experience court connected mediation for academic credit or community service hours. The Court Mediation Project also provides a means for attorneys interested in learning about mediation to obtain quality, low-cost mediation training and to observe and be mentored by experienced mediators. New attorney mediators can gain sufficient experience to qualify for placement on the Alabama State Court Mediator Roster maintained by the Alabama Center for Dispute Resolution of the Alabama State Bar.


Click below for the orientation and forms packet:
Mediation Project Overview Rev. 2015


For additional information:


Court Mediation Center

10th Judicial Circuit, Jefferson County, Alabama

716 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. N., Room 540-1

Birmingham, Alabama 35203







Past Media Coverage of the Project:

Birmingham News - Tuesday, February 9, 2009.pdf




Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court:

Letter from Justice Cobb.pdf




Ad Valorem Tax

In 2003, the Mediation Project accepted an invitation from then Presiding Judge Scott Vowell, to expand the Project to include Ad Valorem tax appeal cases in Jefferson County. The resolution rate has remained at 97% or better and approximately 100 cases per tax year have been successfully mediated. Please click below to read letters from then Chairman Brown of the Board of Equalization and then Chief Judge Nabers of the Alabama Supreme Court:
July 6, 2005 Letter
         July 15, 2005 Letter




Family Court

2006 marked the beginning of a law student internship for facilitation of family court post-minority matters in cooperation with Cumberland School of Law and the Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program. Students receive valuable experience as facilitators during the semester and one hour of academic credit while studying collaborative law and domestic relations law. Cumberland students work with representatives of the Alabama Department of Human Resources and court administration and parents to facilitate resolution of post-minority support issues.


For more information:







Probate Court

Cases that have been removed from the probate court to be heard de novo by the circuit court can be mediated at the request of the parties or upon referral by the court. Upon resolution and approval by the Circuit Court, the case is returned to the probate court for enforcement. Mediation of probate matters requires an order of referral to mediation from the probate judge with instructions.

Additional articles:

Mediating Probate Disputes: A Study of Court Sponsored Programs

Leaving a Valuable Legacy



Criminal Court

In the Fall of 2005, a task force of judges, mediators, prosecutors, criminal defense lawyers, appellate counsel and constitutional law professors was formed to design a mediation process for criminal court to help address delays caused by increased volume and a shortage of judges. The Alabama State Bar sponsored a three-day training with Dr. Mark Umbreit in February 2006 in Montgomery for all stakeholders. Click below for an overview of the Victim-Offender mediation training: Dr. Mark Umbreit's 3-day training in Montgomery, AL   Additional resources can be found on Dr. Mark Umbreit's website: www.restorativejustice.org


Following furloughs of key personnel during the budget crises and an overhaul of the ad hoc appointed counsel list, trained mediators completed additional Constitutional law classes and began facilitating plea bargaining in over 1300 non-violent criminal cases in 2010 to early 2011. Court mediators also assisted during that time when requested for selected cases involving violent felonies and high profile cases.



















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