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.
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.
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.