(a) Definition. --For purposes of this chapter, an alternative dispute resolution process includes any process or procedure, other than an adjudication by a presiding judge, in which a neutral third party participates to assist in the resolution of issues in controversy, through processes such as early neutral evaluation, mediation, minitrial, and arbitration as provided in sections 654 through 658 .
(b) Authority. --Each United States district court shall authorize, by local rule adopted under section 2071(a) , the use of alternative dispute resolution processes in all civil actions, including adversary proceedings in bankruptcy, in accordance with this chapter, except that the use of arbitration may be authorized only as provided in section 654 . Each United States district court shall devise and implement its own alternative dispute resolution program, by local rule adopted under section 2071(a) , to encourage and promote the use of alternative dispute resolution in its district.
(c) Existing alternative dispute resolution programs. --In those courts where an alternative dispute resolution program is in place on the date of the enactment of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 1998, the court shall examine the effectiveness of that program and adopt such improvements to the program as are consistent with the provisions and purposes of this chapter [ 28 U.S.C.A. § 651 et seq. ].
(d) Administration of alternative dispute resolution programs. --Each United States district court shall designate an employee, or a judicial officer, who is knowledgeable in alternative dispute resolution practices and processes to implement, administer, oversee, and evaluate the court's alternative dispute resolution program. Such person may also be responsible for recruiting, screening, and training attorneys to serve as neutrals and arbitrators in the court's alternative dispute resolution program.
(e) Title 9 not affected. --This chapter [ 28 U.S.C.A. § 651 et seq. ] shall not affect title 9, United States Code.
(f) Program support. --The Federal Judicial Center and the Administrative Office of the United States Courts are authorized to assist the district courts in the establishment and improvement of alternative dispute resolution programs by identifying particular practices employed in successful programs and providing additional assistance as needed and appropriate.
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