2009 Texas Code
CIVIL PRACTICE AND REMEDIES CODE
TITLE 7. ALTERNATE METHODS OF DISPUTE RESOLUTION
CHAPTER 154. ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCEDURES  

CIVIL PRACTICE AND REMEDIES CODE

TITLE 7. ALTERNATE METHODS OF DISPUTE RESOLUTION

CHAPTER 154. ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCEDURES

SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sec. 154.001. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:

(1) "Court" includes an appellate court, district court,

constitutional county court, statutory county court, family law

court, probate court, municipal court, or justice of the peace

court.

(2) "Dispute resolution organization" means a private profit or

nonprofit corporation, political subdivision, or public

corporation, or a combination of these, that offers alternative

dispute resolution services to the public.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1121, Sec. 1, eff. June 20,

1987.

Sec. 154.002. POLICY. It is the policy of this state to

encourage the peaceable resolution of disputes, with special

consideration given to disputes involving the parent-child

relationship, including the mediation of issues involving

conservatorship, possession, and support of children, and the

early settlement of pending litigation through voluntary

settlement procedures.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1121, Sec. 1, eff. June 20,

1987.

Sec. 154.003. RESPONSIBILITY OF COURTS AND COURT ADMINISTRATORS.

It is the responsibility of all trial and appellate courts and

their court administrators to carry out the policy under Section

154.002.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1121, Sec. 1, eff. June 20,

1987.

SUBCHAPTER B. ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCEDURES

Sec. 154.021. REFERRAL OF PENDING DISPUTES FOR ALTERNATIVE

DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCEDURE. (a) A court may, on its own

motion or the motion of a party, refer a pending dispute for

resolution by an alternative dispute resolution procedure

including:

(1) an alternative dispute resolution system established under

Chapter 26, Acts of the 68th Legislature, Regular Session, 1983

(Article 2372aa, Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes);

(2) a dispute resolution organization; or

(3) a nonjudicial and informally conducted forum for the

voluntary settlement of citizens' disputes through the

intervention of an impartial third party, including those

alternative dispute resolution procedures described under this

subchapter.

(b) The court shall confer with the parties in the determination

of the most appropriate alternative dispute resolution procedure.

(c) Except as provided by agreement of the parties, a court may

not order mediation in an action that is subject to the Federal

Arbitration Act (9 U.S.C. Sections 1-16).

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1121, Sec. 1, eff. June 20,

1987.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch.

621, Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.

Sec. 154.022. NOTIFICATION AND OBJECTION. (a) If a court

determines that a pending dispute is appropriate for referral

under Section 154.021, the court shall notify the parties of its

determination.

(b) Any party may, within 10 days after receiving the notice

under Subsection (a), file a written objection to the referral.

(c) If the court finds that there is a reasonable basis for an

objection filed under Subsection (b), the court may not refer the

dispute under Section 154.021.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1121, Sec. 1, eff. June 20,

1987.

Sec. 154.023. MEDIATION. (a) Mediation is a forum in which an

impartial person, the mediator, facilitates communication between

parties to promote reconciliation, settlement, or understanding

among them.

(b) A mediator may not impose his own judgment on the issues for

that of the parties.

(c) Mediation includes victim-offender mediation by the Texas

Department of Criminal Justice described in Article 56.13, Code

of Criminal Procedure.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1121, Sec. 1, eff. June 20,

1987. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1034, Sec. 12, eff.

Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 154.024. MINI-TRIAL. (a) A mini-trial is conducted under

an agreement of the parties.

(b) Each party and counsel for the party present the position of

the party, either before selected representatives for each party

or before an impartial third party, to define the issues and

develop a basis for realistic settlement negotiations.

(c) The impartial third party may issue an advisory opinion

regarding the merits of the case.

(d) The advisory opinion is not binding on the parties unless

the parties agree that it is binding and enter into a written

settlement agreement.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1121, Sec. 1, eff. June 20,

1987.

Sec. 154.025. MODERATED SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE. (a) A moderated

settlement conference is a forum for case evaluation and

realistic settlement negotiations.

(b) Each party and counsel for the party present the position of

the party before a panel of impartial third parties.

(c) The panel may issue an advisory opinion regarding the

liability or damages of the parties or both.

(d) The advisory opinion is not binding on the parties.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1121, Sec. 1, eff. June 20,

1987.

Sec. 154.026. SUMMARY JURY TRIAL. (a) A summary jury trial is

a forum for early case evaluation and development of realistic

settlement negotiations.

(b) Each party and counsel for the party present the position of

the party before a panel of jurors.

(c) The number of jurors on the panel is six unless the parties

agree otherwise.

(d) The panel may issue an advisory opinion regarding the

liability or damages of the parties or both.

(e) The advisory opinion is not binding on the parties.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1121, Sec. 1, eff. June 20,

1987.

Sec. 154.027. ARBITRATION. (a) Nonbinding arbitration is a

forum in which each party and counsel for the party present the

position of the party before an impartial third party, who

renders a specific award.

(b) If the parties stipulate in advance, the award is binding

and is enforceable in the same manner as any contract obligation.

If the parties do not stipulate in advance that the award is

binding, the award is not binding and serves only as a basis for

the parties' further settlement negotiations.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1121, Sec. 1, eff. June 20,

1987.

SUBCHAPTER C. IMPARTIAL THIRD PARTIES

Sec. 154.051. APPOINTMENT OF IMPARTIAL THIRD PARTIES. (a) If a

court refers a pending dispute for resolution by an alternative

dispute resolution procedure under Section 154.021, the court may

appoint an impartial third party to facilitate the procedure.

(b) The court may appoint a third party who is agreed on by the

parties if the person qualifies for appointment under this

subchapter.

(c) The court may appoint more than one third party under this

section.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1121, Sec. 1, eff. June 20,

1987.

Sec. 154.052. QUALIFICATIONS OF IMPARTIAL THIRD PARTY. (a)

Except as provided by Subsections (b) and (c), to qualify for an

appointment as an impartial third party under this subchapter a

person must have completed a minimum of 40 classroom hours of

training in dispute resolution techniques in a course conducted

by an alternative dispute resolution system or other dispute

resolution organization approved by the court making the

appointment.

(b) To qualify for an appointment as an impartial third party

under this subchapter in a dispute relating to the parent-child

relationship, a person must complete the training required by

Subsection (a) and an additional 24 hours of training in the

fields of family dynamics, child development, and family law.

(c) In appropriate circumstances, a court may in its discretion

appoint a person as an impartial third party who does not qualify

under Subsection (a) or (b) if the court bases its appointment on

legal or other professional training or experience in particular

dispute resolution processes.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1121, Sec. 1, eff. June 20,

1987.

Sec. 154.053. STANDARDS AND DUTIES OF IMPARTIAL THIRD PARTIES.

(a) A person appointed to facilitate an alternative dispute

resolution procedure under this subchapter shall encourage and

assist the parties in reaching a settlement of their dispute but

may not compel or coerce the parties to enter into a settlement

agreement.

(b) Unless expressly authorized by the disclosing party, the

impartial third party may not disclose to either party

information given in confidence by the other and shall at all

times maintain confidentiality with respect to communications

relating to the subject matter of the dispute.

(c) Unless the parties agree otherwise, all matters, including

the conduct and demeanor of the parties and their counsel during

the settlement process, are confidential and may never be

disclosed to anyone, including the appointing court.

(d) Each participant, including the impartial third party, to an

alternative dispute resolution procedure is subject to the

requirements of Subchapter B, Chapter 261, Family Code, and

Subchapter C, Chapter 48, Human Resources Code.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1121, Sec. 1, eff. June 20,

1987. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1150, Sec. 29, eff.

Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 154.054. COMPENSATION OF IMPARTIAL THIRD PARTIES. (a) The

court may set a reasonable fee for the services of an impartial

third party appointed under this subchapter.

(b) Unless the parties agree to a method of payment, the court

shall tax the fee for the services of an impartial third party as

other costs of suit.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1121, Sec. 1, eff. June 20,

1987.

Sec. 154.055. QUALIFIED IMMUNITY OF IMPARTIAL THIRD PARTIES.

(a) A person appointed to facilitate an alternative dispute

resolution procedure under this subchapter or under Chapter 152

relating to an alternative dispute resolution system established

by counties, or appointed by the parties whether before or after

the institution of formal judicial proceedings, who is a

volunteer and who does not act with wanton and wilful disregard

of the rights, safety, or property of another, is immune from

civil liability for any act or omission within the course and

scope of his or her duties or functions as an impartial third

party. For purposes of this section, a volunteer impartial third

party is a person who does not receive compensation in excess of

reimbursement for expenses incurred or a stipend intended as

reimbursement for expenses incurred.

(b) This section neither applies to nor is it intended to

enlarge or diminish any rights or immunities enjoyed by an

arbitrator participating in a binding arbitration pursuant to any

applicable statute or treaty.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 875, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,

1993.

SUBCHAPTER D. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Sec. 154.071. EFFECT OF WRITTEN SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT. (a) If

the parties reach a settlement and execute a written agreement

disposing of the dispute, the agreement is enforceable in the

same manner as any other written contract.

(b) The court in its discretion may incorporate the terms of the

agreement in the court's final decree disposing of the case.

(c) A settlement agreement does not affect an outstanding court

order unless the terms of the agreement are incorporated into a

subsequent decree.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1121, Sec. 1, eff. June 20,

1987.

Sec. 154.072. STATISTICAL INFORMATION ON DISPUTES REFERRED. The

Texas Supreme Court shall determine the need and method for

statistical reporting of disputes referred by the courts to

alternative dispute resolution procedures.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1121, Sec. 1, eff. June 20,

1987.

Sec. 154.073. CONFIDENTIALITY OF CERTAIN RECORDS AND

COMMUNICATIONS. (a) Except as provided by Subsections (c), (d),

(e), and (f), a communication relating to the subject matter of

any civil or criminal dispute made by a participant in an

alternative dispute resolution procedure, whether before or after

the institution of formal judicial proceedings, is confidential,

is not subject to disclosure, and may not be used as evidence

against the participant in any judicial or administrative

proceeding.

(b) Any record made at an alternative dispute resolution

procedure is confidential, and the participants or the third

party facilitating the procedure may not be required to testify

in any proceedings relating to or arising out of the matter in

dispute or be subject to process requiring disclosure of

confidential information or data relating to or arising out of

the matter in dispute.

(c) An oral communication or written material used in or made a

part of an alternative dispute resolution procedure is admissible

or discoverable if it is admissible or discoverable independent

of the procedure.

(d) A final written agreement to which a governmental body, as

defined by Section 552.003, Government Code, is a signatory that

is reached as a result of a dispute resolution procedure

conducted under this chapter is subject to or excepted from

required disclosure in accordance with Chapter 552, Government

Code.

(e) If this section conflicts with other legal requirements for

disclosure of communications, records, or materials, the issue of

confidentiality may be presented to the court having jurisdiction

of the proceedings to determine, in camera, whether the facts,

circumstances, and context of the communications or materials

sought to be disclosed warrant a protective order of the court or

whether the communications or materials are subject to

disclosure.

(f) This section does not affect the duty to report abuse or

neglect under Subchapter B, Chapter 261, Family Code, and abuse,

exploitation, or neglect under Subchapter C, Chapter 48, Human

Resources Code.

(g) This section applies to a victim-offender mediation by the

Texas Department of Criminal Justice as described in Article

56.13, Code of Criminal Procedure.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1121, Sec. 1, eff. June 20,

1987. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1150, Sec. 30, eff.

Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1352, Sec. 6, eff. Sept.

1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1034, Sec. 13, eff. Sept. 1,

2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 21.001(6), 21.002(3),

eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

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