1. Encourage alternate dispute resolution mechanisms

Courtroom litigation is time-consuming, expensive and unpredictable. Devices such as grievance hearings, arbitration, and mediation of disputes should be encouraged as ways to escape this long, expensive, unpredictable process. A grievance can be heard right away, while memories are fresh and all relevant personnel are at hand, and the process can be tailored to avoid the many expensive legal motions, discovery, evidentiary rules, and other requirements of the courtroom. Arbitration offers the advantages of impartial decision-making and tried rules developed over years of experience. Mediation permits the parties to sit down at the table and talk things out, which often can resolve the dispute early and amicably.

In Michigan, limited attempts at arbitration have already been placed in the law. The Health Care Arbitration provisions of Michigan's Revised Judicature Act permit parties to a medical malpractice dispute to submit their dispute to a three-person panel with expertise in this complex field of law. [46] Experience here has shown that the average award does not differ substantially from that given in courtroom litigation, but that the extreme awards are seen less often. [47] Such a system offers less risk, and requires less time and litigation expense. Arbitration by experienced individuals mutually agreed to by the parties has now been made available to workers' compensation disputants, permitting an escape from the delays and backlogs of Michigan's administrative workers' compensation system. [48] Mediation has become an effective first step in many of Michigan's Circuit Courts, encouraging settlement of disputes by having three-member panels propose award evaluations, with penalties if the evaluations are rejected and subsequent court procedures demonstrate their accuracy. [49]

Such alternate dispute resolution techniques can and should be used in more statutorily defined area of law. For example, arbitration could be mandated to resolve wrongful discharge and other condition-of-employment disputes. Such arbitration could resolve any dispute with sufficient speed to permit quick remedial action on the part of the employer, thereby minimizing economic loss to both the employer and the employee.