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5-502. Definitions. As used in the dispute resolution act:

(a) "Registered programs" and "registered individuals" refer to those programs and individuals who have registered with the director of dispute resolution and are eligible to apply for public funding or approval from the director of dispute resolution;

(b) "approval" means the program or individual has applied for inclusion on a list of programs and individuals and has been found to have met the requirements and guidelines to be considered for the receipt of public funding or to be recommended to the court as an approved service provider.

(c) "council" means the advisory council on dispute resolution;

(d) "director" means the director of dispute resolution;

(e) "dispute resolution" means a process by which the parties involved in a dispute voluntarily agree or are referred or ordered by a court to enter into discussion and negotiation with the assistance of a neutral person;

(f) "mediation" means the intervention into a dispute by a third party who has no decision making authority, is impartial to the issues being discussed, assists the parties in defining the issues in dispute, facilitates communication between the parties and assists the parties in reaching resolution;

(g) "arbitration" means a proceeding in which a neutral person or panel hears a formal case presentation and makes an award, which can be binding or nonbinding upon the parties relative to a prior agreement;

(h) "neutral evaluation" means a proceeding conducted by a neutral person who helps facilitate settlement of a case by giving the parties to the dispute an evaluation of the case;

(i) "summary jury trial" means a formal case presentation to a jury and judge which results in a nonbinding decision;

(j) "mini trial" means a formal case presentation to a party representative and an expert neutral person who makes a nonbinding decision;

(k) "settlement" means a proceeding in which someone other than the presiding judge assists the parties in reaching a resolution;

(l) "conciliation" means a proceeding in which a neutral person assists the parties in reconciliation efforts;

(m) "neutral person" or "neutral" means the impartial third party who intervenes in a dispute at the request of the parties or the court in order to help facilitate settlement or resolution of a dispute.

History: L. 1994, ch. 217, § 2; L. 1996, ch. 140, § 2; July 1.

Law Review and Bar Journal References:

"The Use of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Civil Litigation in Kansas," Art Thompson, XII Kan. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y, No. II, 351 (2003).

"Will the Legal Profession Ever Be the Same? Disappearing Trials and ADR in Kansas," Hon. Robert W. Fairchild, Arthur J. Thompson, 76 J.K.B.A. No. 5, 18 (2007).

"Summary Judgment for Failure to Mediate: Is it Really That Simple?" Stanley A. Leasure, 77 J.K.B.A. No. 6, 22 (2008).

Attorney General's Opinions:

Information transmitted between parties and a mediator during a mediation involving a dispute is confidential provided the mediation is conducted pursuant to the dispute resolution act. 2010-9.


1. The concept of binding mediation is inconsistent with the definition of "mediation." Wasinger v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Salina, 55 Kan. App. 2d 77, 81-82, 407 P.3d 665 (2017).

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