APPELLATE MEDIATION PROGRAM GETS ITS FIRST TEST
(Posted February 11, 2019) Tomorrow the Supreme Court of Virginia convenes writ panels for the first time since the calendar turned. Soon thereafter, the Clerk will start delivering good news, in the form of writs, to a select few appellants. And that will trigger the first uses of the new appellate mediation pilot program in that court; the clerk will also send notices to counsel in qualified appeals, letting them know that the program (and its automatic 30-day stay of deadlines) is available.
I reported on the program last year, and Virginia Business magazine ran a story on it this week. Those of us who put the program together will watch with a mix of hope and eagerness to see how many pairs of civil litigants will take advantage of the crop of newly certified appellate mediators. They, unlike those who see the appellate process all the way through to the mandate, will get to resolve their own appeals, on their own terms.
One last point: The Court of Appeals also is participating in this program, though with a very limited number of cases. That program is limited to domestic-relations appeals where the appellate issue is equitable distribution. In case you’re wondering, no one will mediate an appeal over a protective order or child custody.