The Early Beginnings of Mediation in America:

The federal government encouraged commercial arbitration as early as 1887, when it passed the Interstate Commerce Act. The Act set up a mechanism for the voluntary submission of labor disputes to arbitration by the Railroads and their employees. In 1925, Congress passed the Federal Arbitration Act which governs the arbitration of contractual disputes involving commerce. Since its early beginnings, there have been several occasions in which the government intervened to require mediation and/or arbitration of a commercial dispute when it felt that the dispute threatened national interests.

A Pioneer of Mediation in Texas:

The late Steve Brutsche was one of the early pioneers of mediation in Texas, and he wrote an article that was originally published in the Business Litigation Newsletter in May of 1989 and in the Texas Bar Journal in June of 1990. The title of his paper was titled “Mediation Cross-Examined.” Although written in the very early days of mediation in Texas, Steve’s article remains a good discussion of the mediation process and what to expect during your mediation session. To read Steve’s article, you can click here.

Texas Laws Regarding Mediation

The Texas ADR Statute is the basis for mediation and other forms of ADR in Texas.  It was originally enacted in 1987 and has been a model for many other state’s ADR statutes. The Texas ADR Statute is available online here.

Rules for Mediation:

The Rules for Mediation may vary depending upon the court in which your case is pending or whether the mediation is being conducted voluntarily or pursuant to a private ADR plan.  Your should consult with your attorney or ask the clerk or coordinator of your court for a copy of the Rules applicable to your particular case.  Many courts include the Rules in their Orders or as part of their Local Rules. 

Benefits of Mediation:

There are several benefits of seeking a resolution to a dispute by means of mediation.