Michigan Supreme Court debuts online mediation service

    Michigan Supreme Court | Susan J. Demas

    The Michigan Supreme Court this week announced MI-Resolve, a new, free online mediation service available in 17 counties that can help people avoid court for some cases.

    Bridget McCormack

    The court said the program “provides an efficient and affordable way” to resolve small claims, general civil or landlord-tenant cases in the district court. The counties are in Southeast Michigan, northern Michigan and the Thumb.

    “Making court services more accessible means opening both real and virtual courtroom doors,” said Chief Justice Bridget McCormack. “With the help of groundbreaking services such as MI-Resolve, Michigan is a national leader in boosting access to justice online.”

    Through MI-Resolve, a trained neutral person, known as a mediator works to help parties identify a solution to a dispute that best works for them. The Supreme Court called the process a “game changer” because “people who are busy with work or children can benefit from mediation on their own schedule.”

    Individuals do not need to have a case filed in court to use the program. If they do, they can still use MI-Resolve to try to reach a settlement before a hearing or trial date.

    MI-Resolve counties | Michigan Supreme Court graphic

    During the pilot phase, case types are limited to: claims alleging that money is owed, contract dispute, neighborhood disputes landlord-tenant matters.

    Those eligible to use the system must be 18 are older and live, work or have a dispute in one of the 17 counties. They also must have internet access and an active e-mail address.

    Those who don’t live, work or have a dispute in the 17 counties can still use other forms of dispute resolution, available here.

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    Susan J. Demas is an 18-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.

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