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Community Dispute Resolution Committees Manual for Camden County Municipal Courts

NCJ Number
Date Published
37 pages
This manual informs Camden County, N.J., municipal judges, court clerks, citizen volunteers, and other interested parties about policies and procedures for establishing and operating community dispute resolution committees (CDRC's) in the county's municipal courts.
Although there are several variations of the concept of CDRC's in New Jersey, this manual confines its discussion to the 'Collingswood' model, which has been used in Camden County since 1980 and uses unpaid citizens for mediators. The rationale for CDRC's is the provision of an informal forum for reaching mutual agreements between disputants in lieu of costly and often less satisfactory court adversarial procedures. Among the types of cases recommended for referral to CDRC's are harassment, bad checks, trespass, noise complaints, annoying telephone calls, and animal complaints. Overall, CDRC's are intended to resolve minor disputes through a short-term process rather than long-term intervention. The manual details 15 steps for establishing a CDRC, followed by a description of the referral process. Information also covers guidelines for conducting hearings, mediator responsibilities, volunteer selection and training, and reporting requirements. Appendixes contain supplementary forms and materials.