Although the Law Division, Civil Division of Superior Court handles hundreds of thousands of cases every year, only a relatively small percentage of these about 2% -- ever reach a judge for trial. A great many are resolved through various dispute resolution processes. For descriptions of each type of these dispute resolution techniques, refer to the Civil CDR Program Resource Book.
The New Jersey Judiciary recognizes that every dispute is unique. In some cases, a trial is the most effective means of resolution. In many cases, however, other techniques may be more effective, efficient and meaningful to the participants.
Even when a case is not required to go to Complementary Dispute Resolution (CDR), the parties and their lawyers can choose to submit the dispute to the court's existing programs. New Jersey Court Rules 1:40 et seq. discuss CDR, and place upon attorneys the responsibility of becoming familiar with available CDR programs and informing their clients of them.
Without sacrificing quality, court-sponsored CDR programs offer many benefits, including: reduced time to disposition; streamlined and less costly discovery; more effective case management (for pre- and post-trial matters); increased confidentiality; facilitation of early, direct communication and understanding among the parties about the essential issues on each side of the dispute; participation of litigants in the resolution of their case; preservation of ongoing party relations; savings in trial expenses; and decreased psychological and emotional costs to litigants.