Court Rules - Particular Civil Proceedings - Court Ordered Mediation for Civil Cases
III. PARTICULAR CIVIL PROCEEDINGS
14 (Part 2): COURT ORDERED MEDIATION FOR RESIDENTIAL EVICTION CASES
ordered mediation in eviction cases in the Circuit Court for the 18th Judicial
Circuit, DuPage County, Illinois is established by Administrative Order. The
Circuit Judges of the 18th Judicial Circuit adopt the following Local Rules
effective August 31, 2021. Administrative Order and this Article shall govern
court ordered residential eviction mediation.
14.21 PURPOSE OF THE RESIDENTIAL EVICTION MEDIATION PROCESS
18th Judicial Circuit Court Eviction Mediation Program (Program) is designed to
help mitigate the surge of evictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and
the ensuing economic fallout. Its chief goal is to assist tenants and landlords
in avoiding eviction and pursuing mutually beneficial alternatives. The
Eviction Mediation Program is designed to aid in the administration of justice
by promotion of judicial efficiency. Eviction mediation under these rules
involves a confidential process whereby a neutral mediator, appointed by the
Court, assists the litigants in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement. It is
a mandatory process that is informal and non-adversarial in nature. The role of
the mediator includes, but is not limited to, assisting the parties in
identifying issues, fostering joint problem solving, exploring settlement alternatives,
and reaching an agreement.
EVICTION ACTIONS ELIGIBLE FOR COURT ORDERED MEDIATION
(a) This rule shall apply to all newly filed cases
and all pending cases that have not already completed the physical eviction
process. However, at any time the Judge can waive this requirement in the
Judge's discretion either at the request of a litigant or sua sponte,
and no requirements of the mediation program shall prohibit the Court from entering
a Default Judgment.
FILING OF CASES ELIGIBLE FOR COURT ORDERED RESIDENTIAL EVICTION MEDIATION
(a) Cases filed after September 20,
2021 are required to provide notice of the eviction mediation program, notice
is to be provided in substantially the following form, in a document which
includes the caption for the case and otherwise conforms with all other
requirements for pleadings filed in this Court (including a certificate of
service and notice of filing):
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT THIS RESIDENTIAL EVICTION CASE
IS SUBJECT TO THE RULES OF THE EIGHTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT’S EVICTION MEDIATION
PROGRAM. You are hereby advised that, unless the Court determines that
participation should be excused for any reason, the parties to this action will
be required to participate in mediation prior to this case proceeding to
trial. The mediation required hereunder will
be conducted in an informal forum, either contemporaneously at the courthouse
or on a later date, when the parties can meet in person or on-line through the
Zoom video-conferencing program. This mediation is intended to be
non-adversarial in nature and confidential. The mediation program includes an
initial screening process at the first court appearance, or prior to that date
by contacting the Residential Eviction Mediation Program. The role of the
court-appointed mediator assigned to your case will include, but is not limited
to, assisting the parties in identifying issues, identifying resources which
may be useful to either of the parties going forward, exploring settlement
alternatives, and helping the parties reach an agreement to avoid the expense
and consequences of trial. The Mediation required by these rules is being
provided without charge - neither side is required to pay the mediator in these
cases - and the process is governed by Article 14 (Part 2) of the Local Rules
of the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit (Court-Ordered Mediation for Residential
Eviction Cases) as well as the Illinois Uniform Mediation Act (710 ILCS 35/1,
AS A RESIDENTIAL TENANT NAMED AS A DEFENDANT HEREIN, YOU
ARE FURTHER GIVEN NOTICE that there are resources available to assist you,
including financial counseling services, legal assistance, and other resources,
many of which are identified in the brochure being provided to you herewith (a
copy of which may be found at https://www.dupageco.org/courts/
consistent with S. Ct. Rule 101(g), failure to include the language or brochure
above described on or with the summons shall not affect the jurisdiction
of the court.
(a) The position of Eviction Mediation Program
Coordinator is established to oversee the daily operations of the Program.
(b) The designated duties of the Eviction
Mediation Program Coordinator as set out within these rules may be assigned,
delegated, or referred to other court employees, financial and housing
counseling agencies, legal aid organizations, bar associations, or other third
parties as recognized by the Court.
ORDER OF REFERRAL TO COURT ORDERED MEDIATION AND OTHER SERVICES
(a) Enrollment in the Program shall occur
before or during the first court appearance, or, if there is a continuance in
the matter, prior to the continuance date.
(b) To enroll in the program, any party may
contact the Eviction Mediation Program Coordinator and begin the screening
process. If one party has enrolled in the Program, the Eviction Mediation Program
Coordinator shall make reasonable efforts to contact the other parties and
engage them in the screening process.
(c) During the screening process, the Program
shall collect appropriate information and refer the party to appropriate
services, including but not limited to financial counseling, rental assistance,
and legal assistance. Any personal data captured by the Program shall be
limited to use by the Program and its financial counseling and pro bono legal
aid partners and shall not be shared or utilized for any other purposes.
Aggregated, non-personal data shall be shared with the Administrative Office of
the Illinois Courts, as set forth in section 14.29.
(d) As part of the Program, parties shall be
provided a meaningful opportunity to access legal and financial counseling
services to the extent their needs and interests demand, and as resources
permit. These services may include some or all of, but not limited to: brief
legal information, pro bono legal aid, financial counseling, housing counseling
and technical assistance in preparing rental assistance applications. The Program
shall have ultimate discretion as to what services are appropriate for any
particular party. Participants shall be afforded a reasonable opportunity to
pursue such services prior to mediation if the Program deems it necessary
and/or in the interest of justice.
(e) Once the defendant has been screened and
referred to appropriate services as needed, the Program shall set a mediation
date no later than 28 days from the first court appearance.
(f) Parties may enter an agreed order
to settle on the date of the first court appearance.
(g) If an order for mediation has been
entered and the parties have not yet mediated but have reached an agreement,
the parties may enter an agreed order and cancel the mediation appointment.
(h) The parties may agree to subsequent
mediation sessions prior to the expiration of 28 days from the first court appearance
and the parties with their mediator shall pick mutually agreed upon dates and
times for mediation. Mediation sessions outside of the 28 - day window may be
scheduled by mutual agreement of the parties with approval of the Court.
(i) Mediations may be conducted in person at
the DuPage County 18th Judicial Circuit Court located at 505 N.
County Farm Road, Wheaton, IL 60187, or via telephone or video conference.
Location and format of mediation will be determined by the Chief Judge.
(j) The Court’s Mediation Referral Order shall include:
as to where, when and how the mediation will be expected to proceed and what
each side should do to prepare for the same;
as to how the case should proceed in the event an agreement is reached through
as to how the case should proceed in the event no agreement is reached,
including specifically a requirement that the parties return to court on a date
and at a time certain thereafter, either to advise the Court as to the status
of their dispute and schedule additional proceedings (if the date scheduled in
the order is for “STATUS”) or to immediately proceed to trial (if the date
scheduled in the order is for “TRIAL”).
(k) The Eviction Mediation Program
Coordinator, in consultation with the Arbitration Administrator shall develop forms and
a process for the scheduling of each mediation.
a case is scheduled for trial in the Mediation Referral Order, it shall be
subject to the applicable Illinois law and local rules governing trials in this
circuit, with no continuances allowed other than as provided for in those
(m) The parties should advise the Court, prior
to the entry of a Mediation Referral Order, whether any discovery may be
necessary prior to trial and the Court should consider the same in determining
whether to schedule the case for STATUS or TRIAL.
APPOINTMENT, QUALIFICATIONS AND
COMPENSATION OF MEDIATORS
person shall serve as a Mediator, in any matter referred to mediation
hereunder, if they have a potential conflict of interest or unless they have
first satisfied the requirements necessary to be recognized as a Mediator
Presiding Judge of Chancery, or their designee, shall appoint mediators from a
roster of approved Mediators, which shall be established by the Court.
eviction mediators shall successfully complete either (1) a minimum of forty
(40) hours mediation training skills program, the content of which is
acceptable to the Presiding Judge of Chancery, or their designee, plus an
additional four (4) hour eviction mediation training which shall be approved by
the Court or (2) they shall successfully complete an eight (8) hours eviction
mediation training which shall be approved by the Court. Additionally, eviction
mediators shall possess either: (i) a Juris Doctor degree with demonstrated
experience or; (ii) a background in mediation with experience acceptable to the
Approved List of Mediators will be updated from time to time to add the names
of new members and remove those who either no longer qualify or who the Presiding
Judge of Chancery determines have been unable to participate in this program to
the extent they were initially expected to do so.
Mediator, approved and certified by this Circuit and acting pursuant to these
rules, shall have judicial immunity as provided for in Illinois Supreme Court
Presiding Judge of Chancery (or, at the Presiding Judge’s direction, the
Program) has the discretion to determine the frequency and order of assignment
of mediation cases to mediators on the roster of approved Mediators.
(h) A Mediator shall be compensated according
to the rate established by the
CONFIDENTIALITY, APPLICABILITY OF
UNIFORM MEDIATION ACT
(a) Mediations conducted pursuant to these
rules shall be governed by the Illinois Uniform Mediation Act, 735 ILCS 35/1, et seq. (The “Uniform Act”) and
“Mediation Communications,” as defined therein, shall be deemed privileged and
confidential, subject to those limitations as are provided in the Uniform Act.
ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION IN
(a) The parties to a case which is scheduled
for mediation pursuant to a Mediation Referral Order hereunder, are required to
attend. If either of the parties is a corporation, that party must be
represented by an individual with full authority to negotiate a settlement on
behalf of the party. It is not required that such counsel participate, unless
their participation would otherwise be required in a corresponding court
proceeding, but any party to a mediation hereunder is entitled to have legal
counsel present with them as they deem appropriate.
(b) The mediation will commence with
introductory comments by the Mediator. The parties will be asked to execute a
Confidentiality Agreement at that time and to make any introductory comments as
may be appropriate. Thereafter, the Mediator may either work with the group all
together or separate each side, allowing for the parties to caucus (a process
which allows the Mediator to speak privately with each side outside the
presence of the others). The parties and their counsel may also step away as
needed to confer with each other. The mediation may be continued, if all agreed
determine that a continuance could help facilitate settlement, but no
continuance which would require the rescheduling of a trial date may proceed without
(c) At the conclusion of a mediation
hereunder, the Mediator should prepare a Residential Eviction Mediation Report
confirming when the required mediation occurred, whether all parties attended
and participated, and whether an agreement was reached. If an agreement was
reached to resolve the matter in whole or in part, it must be reduced to
writing and signed by the parties or their agents at the end of the mediation
and that agreement should be included with the Residential Eviction Mediation
the conclusion of a mediation hereunder, the Mediator is required to provide a
Residential Eviction Mediation Report, together with a copy of any agreement
executed by the parties, to the Eviction Mediation Program Coordinator, which
will work with the Presiding Judge of Chancery to ensure compliance with any
reporting requirements hereunder, assist in the scheduling of mediations under
this program, and facilitate communications between the trial court and Court
Appointed Mediator assigned to each case.
to 710 ILCS 35/7(a), a Mediator assigned to a case hereunder “may not make a
report, assessment, evaluation, recommendation, finding, or other communication
regarding a mediation to a court, administrative agency, or other authority
that may make a ruling on the dispute that is the subject of the mediation” but
a mediator may disclose, under 710 ILCS 35/7(b)(1), “whether the mediation
occurred or has terminated, whether a settlement was reached, and attendance.”
Such disclosures shall be made by the Mediator to the judge assigned to each case,
as aforesaid, in the format provided for under these rules, or in such
additional or other format as the Presiding Judge may deem appropriate.
(c) The Court shall report to the Supreme Court the number of
cases submitted to mediation pursuant to this program, the type and number of
issues resolved through the mediation program, and participant satisfaction
rates and survey results.
Said report shall be submitted
to the Supreme Court on a
quarterly basis or as requested by the Administrative Office of the Illinois
Eviction Mediation Program Coordinator shall report to the Court the number of
cases submitted to mediation pursuant to this program, the type and number of
issues resolved through the mediation program, participant satisfaction rates
and survey results, the number of mediation sessions conducted, case outcomes,
time from referral to resolution/return to court and a summary of noted
problems relevant to the effective administration of the Program. Said report
shall be submitted on a quarterly basis or as otherwise requested by the Office
of the Chief Judge
14.30 SETTLEMENT PRIOR TO MEDIATION CONFERENCE
(a) Upon settlement of any mediation case
pending before the Court, counsel for plaintiff shall immediately notify the Judge
in writing and submit the written settlement or other dispositive order on or
before the scheduled mediation conference date. The counsel for plaintiff shall
also notify the mediator and the Eviction Mediation Program Coordinator that
the mediation conference will not take place as scheduled.
ORDERS ON AGREEMENT REACHED IN MEDIATION
(a) The Eviction Mediation Program
Coordinator shall develop procedures to ensure that, in each case, a
Residential Eviction Mediation Report is provided to the trial court prior to
whatever next court date is set forth in the Mediation Referral Order. The
Court will review that report with the parties when they then appear in court
and shall enter such
ORDERS ON AGREEMENT REACHED IN MEDIATION
Eviction Mediation Program Coordinator shall develop procedures to ensure that,
in each case, a Residential Eviction Mediation Report is provided to the trial
court prior to whatever next court date is set forth in the Mediation Referral
Order. The Court will review that report with the parties when they then appear
in court and shall enter such orders as may be appropriate under the
the event of any party’s failure to appear or participate in the mediation, or
of any breach or failure to perform by a party under any agreement reached in
mediation prior to or contemporaneously with the entry of any final order in
the case, the Court shall have authority to impose sanctions on that party,
pursuant to and subject to the same restrictions as are provided for discovery
violations under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 219.
POST-MEDIATION CONFERENCE STATUS DATE
(a) The final order to be sent to each party by the attorney
designated to appear at the post-mediation conference status date.
(b) All parties or their attorneys whose
claim is not resolved after the mediation conference shall appear at the
post-mediation conference status date. Failure to appear at the post-mediation
conference status date may result in the entry of a default judgment or
14.33 PRESIDING JUDGE AND REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
(a) The Presiding Judge of Chancery shall
supervise the Court Ordered Eviction Mediation Program.
(b) The Presiding Judge of Chancery shall review
applications submitted by candidates for appointment as a Mediator hereunder,
as well as complaints about any particular Mediator or the process, and the
determination as to the initial and continued eligibility of such candidates
(or as the Presiding Judge delegates these rolls to the Eviction Mediation
Program Coordinator); and
(c) General supervision over this program,
including periodic reviews of its progress and effect to ensure appropriate
recommendations may be submitted to the Chief Judge, ensuring that the training
program is properly developed, and ensuring information about the availability
of this program is readily available to the parties as well as attorneys and
other professionals who may be interested in service as mediators hereunder.
(a) It is the policy of this Program to provide
meaningful language access to limited English proficient program participants
at all stages of participation. Written materials originated by the Program
shall be readily available in English and Spanish, and other language
translations shall be reasonably made available upon request. Phone interpretation
services may be available for all phone, video and in person communications,
and in-person interpretation services shall be available for in-person
mediation hearings unless impracticable. Language Access services shall be
provided at no additional cost to the participants.