The Los Angeles County Superior Court makes various alternative dispute resolution ("ADR") programs available to the litigants. One option is to participate in a Voluntary Settlement Conference ("VSC") session, wherein litigation attorneys from the community volunteer to help litigants resolve their cases. Although ADR programs generally help lower the burden on the courts and lower the parties litigation costs, the various programs have some fundamental differences. One notable difference is the confidentiality that the California Evidence Code affords to communications made in connection with mediation sessions, under a policy of encouraging candor in mediation discussions. VSC sessions do not enjoy the same confidentiality. Since 2009, I have been volunteering my time as a VSC officer, and often propose that the parties stipulate to confidentiality. I have put my proposed agreement into a form for other litigants to use.
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