|In some instances, depending on your case, there are alternatives to legal action, which are known in the court system as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) programs. For many types of issues, such as small claims actions, probate matters and domestic relations issues, ADR can offer an alternative to a court action which can save you money and time. For other problems, there may be resources in the community that can help you. If you are interested in learning more about ADR:
NH Court System Alternative Dispute Resolution Program
This site includes detailed information about court mediation in small claims cases, marital and probate cases. Information is also available about alternative dispute resolution programs for civil cases filed in the Superior Court. There are links to approved mediators and neutral evaluators whose services are used in the courts.
Mediation is available in the Family Division and the Superior Court in cases in which custody and visitation are an issue. Parties pay for mediation, except in indigent cases.
Small Claims mediation, without charge, will begin on Sept 1 at 13 District Court sites. The remaining District Court sites will have small claims mediation available in one year. The mediation program is funded by a $5.00 filing fee increase on all small claims cases filed as of July 1, 2005. Participation is voluntary.
If you really want to have a judge decide your case you always have that option. In the district court, you can try mediation and if it doesn’t work they can have a hearing before a judge that day. If both parties to a case in a location where the small claims mediation program is not yet available, the clerk will make provisions to transfer the case.
The program will be initiated on September 1 in the following district courts: Manchester District Court, Nashua District Court, Concord District Court, Derry District Court, Dover District Court, Rochester District Court, Laconia District Court, Lancaster District Court, Claremont/Newport District Courts, Jaffrey/Peterborough District Court, Plymouth District Court, and Southern Carroll County District Court. The remaining district courts will follow by the end of 2006.
Probate: Mediation is available without charge to all parties in probate court. A $5.00 filing fee on all probate filings funds the mediation program. Participation is voluntary. If you really want to have a judge decide your case you always have that option.
Resources Outside the Court
If you have encountered an unfair business or consumer practice, you may contact:
If you have a discrimination complaint with employment, housing or public accommodation, contact:
New Hampshire Better Business Bureau
Deals with complaints about businesses located in New Hampshire
NH Department of Justice, Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau
Protects consumers from unfair and deceptive business practices in New Hampshire.
National Better Business Bureau
Deals with complaints about businesses located outside New Hampshire.
New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights
If you believe your rights as a citizen have been violated by government action:
A government agency that deals with discrimination cases in employment, housing and public accommodation.
New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union
If you would like to read more about the law:
Deals with legal issues that primarily involve violations of individual rights by the government.
The New Hampshire Law Library
This is the only public law library in the state. Its' mission is to advance the administration of justice by providing legal information and related services to the judicial, legislative, and executive branches of government, the legal communities of New Hampshire, and the people of the state.