RULE 5. APPELLATE MEDIATION PROGRAM
(a) Eligible Cases. Only final and appealable judgments and orders in the following types of cases are eligible for participation in appellate mediation:
(1) divorce cases involving property or spousal support;
(2) cases involving parenting rights, except for termination of parental rights cases;
(3) cases involving residential responsibilities or support of minor children; and
(4) cases arising under the Uniform Probate Code or the Uniform Trust Code.
(b) Exemption from Mediation. Either party may request referral of an eligible case to appellate mediation. Referral must be granted unless a party requests an order from the court exempting the case from appellate mediation. The party requesting exemption must file a motion and an affidavit with the supreme court clerk. The Court may exempt the case if:
(1) the issues raised are limited to questions of law; or
(2) prior appellate mediation has been attempted and the issues are substantially similar; or
(3) other good cause is shown.
(c) Time to Request Mediation. Any party contemplating an appeal may forward a request for mediation to the Family Mediation Program Administrator, identified in N.D.Sup.Ct.Admin.O. 17, no later than 60 days after the service of notice of entry of judgment or order, or 10 days after service of the notice of appeal, in any eligible case. The request must be simultaneously served on every party under N.D R.App. P. 25. The time for filing a notice of appeal under N.D R.App. P. 4 is not affected by any request or assignment for mediation.
(d) Screening and Assignment of Mediator. The Family Mediation Program Administrator must determine whether a case meets the requirements for eligibility and appropriateness for mediation. Once a case has been approved for appellate mediation, the Family Mediation Program Administrator must forward a notice of mediation to counsel, any unrepresented party, and the supreme court clerk. The notice of mediation must identify the mediator who has been assigned, and contain a deadline for completion of the mediation.
(e) Appellate Mediators. Any lawyer qualified as an appellate mediator under N.D.R.Ct. 8.9 may be assigned to mediate.
(f) Time Limitations/Period for Mediation. The mediation must be completed within 45 days of the assignment of an appellate mediator.
(g) Transcripts and Appellate Briefs. To expedite the mediation process and spare the parties as much initial expense as possible, the ordering of the transcript in cases eligible for and assigned to mediation, must be extended to a date 15 days after the filing of the notice of appeal.
(h) Extensions/Tolling. The time for filing briefs is not automatically tolled pending mediation. In cases in which mediation has been requested, any motions for enlargement of time for briefs must be filed with the clerk of the Supreme Court under N.D R.App.P. 26(b).
(i) Mediation Outcome. In appeals settled in whole or in part under this rule, the parties must file a stipulation with the Supreme Court within 5 days of completion of the mediation, requesting the court to enter an appropriate order, which may include voluntary dismissal under N.D R.App.P. 43. In appeals not settled and terminated after mediation, briefing and oral argument will proceed under the rules. In those cases settled by mediation prior to the filing of a notice of appeal, the requesting party is responsible for filing any appropriate document with the district court.
(h) Confidentiality. Statements and comments made during mediation conferences and in related discussions, and any record of those statements, are confidential and may not be disclosed by anyone, including the Family Mediation Program Administrator, counsel, or the parties, or their agents or employees, to anyone not participating in the appellate mediation process. Mediators may not be called as witnesses, and the information and records of the Family Mediation Program Administrator may not be disclosed to judges, staff, or employees of any court.EXPLANATORY NOTE
Rule 5 was adopted, effective__________________.