Colorado Courts Trying to Catch Up
Updated: Apr 20
Prior to the pandemic that started over a year ago the Colorado Courts were already underfunded, overburdened, and litigants in the court system had to wait 2 years or more to have their “day in court”. During the peak of the pandemic most Colorado Courts halted normal operations and conducted only constitutionally required criminal cases. As one could gather, this created an enormous backlog of cases that the Colorado Courts are beginning to slowly address. It has been reported there are 14,600 jury trials that were placed on hold across Colorado over the last year. Those cases are now being allowed to forward however, it will take several years for the Colorado Courts to clear this backlog. It is also worth mentioning that the current backlog does not take into account non-jury trials on hold or all the cases were not filed during the peak of the pandemic because they were unable to, ie… unlawful entry and detainer (evictions), or cases that were not filed due to waiting for the courts to resume normal operations. This means if you are currently a litigating party or in a dispute that is heading for court intervention, it will be several years before you get any peace of mind or satisfaction of resolution. If this is the case for you or your business, I would highly encourage you to consider alternative dispute resolution and specifically, mediation as a highly effective mechanism to resolve your dispute.
Mediation is much more cost effective than litigation. Mediation costs a fraction of litigating a dispute because of the fee structure. In litigation, you typically pay your attorney by the hour. The longer the dispute lasts and the more contentious the dispute, the more you will end up paying regardless of wining or loosing the case. While mediation is also typically charged per hour most disputes can be fully mediated to resolution in a 2 hour or 4 hour mediation session. Instead of paying tens of thousands of dollars litigating a dispute, mediation can resolve your dispute for less than $1,000 and typically for only a few hundred dollars most of the time.
In addition, most mediations can be scheduled within a week or two of contacting and selecting a qualified mediator to resolve your dispute. Most qualified mediators also have flexible hours and can mediate your dispute afterhours and on weekends to accommodate busy work/life schedules.
Finally, mediation is going to be court ordered anyway. Most litigating parties are unaware that if you decide to take your dispute to court, whether it is a divorce or business contract case, you will be ordered by the judge to first mediate your dispute before the judge will give you a trial or hearing date. Mediation is required by the courts because courts are now more than ever, overburdened with a backlog of cases. In addition, the courts recognize that the parties are the ones in the best place to come up with solutions to their own problems and this can be accomplished by using an experienced and qualified mediator to help the parties reach a resolution. Mediation is typically successful 80% of the time, giving much needed closure to the parties and relieving the court from having to expend scarce resources.
This is why I advise all disputing parties to first try and mediate the dispute before lawyering up and running to the court house looking for answers. Parties are astounded to find through mediation they are actually able to tell their side of the story, save thousands of dollars, skip years of fighting in court, and resolve a dispute with terms and conditions that the parties agree are acceptable.
If you find yourself or your business in the beginning dispute or have already been court ordered to mediate, call Skip Court Mediation today for a free consultation, (970) 888-1375.