CONTACT: Maggie Ostrowski
(614) 487-4425, or cell phone: (614) 306-3839
COLUMBUS -- (August 31, 2017) The Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) today announced that the 2017 recipient of the Judicial Administration and Legal Reform Committee Innovative Court Practices Award is the Franklin County Municipal Court Online Dispute Resolution Program.
OSBA President Randall Comer presented this year's award before a roomful of judges at the annual meeting of the Ohio Judicial Conference in Columbus. Alex Sanchez, who manages the program, and Veronica Cravener, the Small Claims and Dispute Resolution Supervisor accepted the award on behalf of the Court.
The Franklin County Municipal Court Small Claims Division is the first small claims court in the country to implement an online dispute resolution option. Up and running since October of 2016, the program provides parties to a civil case the option to resolve it outside of court—on their own terms and free of charge. Through the platform, which is accessible 24/7, parties can communicate information and settlement proposals either directly to the other party in the case, or to a court mediator.
"This program increases court efficiency, and from the perspective of the involved parties, it helps them resolve their issues more quickly and with better outcomes—saving everyone time and resources and alleviating frustration," President Comer said.
The purpose of the Innovative Court Practices Award is to bring greater visibility to exemplary programs in Ohio's courts and to facilitate the transfer of those programs to other courts in the state. Award submissions are evaluated on criteria including creativity, the newness of the program and its effectiveness, as well as the transferability of the concept to other courts and whether the program addresses significant issues that are regional in scope.
The Ohio State Bar Association, founded in 1880, is a voluntary association representing approximately 28,000 members of the bench and bar of Ohio. Through its activities and the activities of its related organizations, the OSBA serves both its members and the public by promoting the highest standards in the practice of law and the administration of justice.