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South Carolina
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Request for Written Comments

The South Carolina Commission on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR Commission) has filed a petition asking this Court to amend Rule 9 of the South Carolina Court-Annexed Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules (ADR Rules).  Among other things, the proposed amendments provide that the limits on an appointed mediator's compensation apply only where the mediator is appointed by the clerk of court, increase the fee an appointed mediator may charge by $25 per hour, and require that a party request to be exempted from the payment of mediation fees and expenses based on indigency prior to the scheduling of mediation and on a form approved by this Court.

The Court is considering adopting a modified version of the ADR Commission's proposed amendments to Rule 9 of the ADR Rules for submission to the General Assembly in accordance with Article V, Section 4A of the South Carolina Constitution. The proposed changes are set forth in the attachment.

Persons or entities desiring to submit written comments on the proposed amendments should submit their comments to the following email address,, on or before February 17, 2020. Comments should be submitted as an attachment to the email as either a Microsoft Word document or an Adobe PDF document.

Columbia, South Carolina
January 22, 2020

Rule 9
Compensation of Neutral

(a) By Agreement. When the parties stipulate the neutral, the parties and the neutral shall agree upon compensation.

(b) By Court Order Mediation Appointment. When the mediator is appointed by the court Clerk of Court pursuant to Rule 4(c), Rule 4(d)(2)(B), or Rule 4(d)(2)(C) of these rules, the mediator shall be compensated by the parties at a rate of $175 $200 per hour, provided that the court-appointed mediator shall charge no greater than one hour of time in preparing for the initial mediation ADR conference. Travel time shall not be compensated. Reimbursement of expenses to the mediator shall be limited to: (i) mileage costs accrued by the mediator for travel to and from the mediation ADR conference at a per mile rate that is equal to the standard business mileage rate established by the Internal Revenue Service, as periodically adjusted; and (ii) reasonable costs advanced by the mediator on behalf of the parties to the mediation ADR conference, not to exceed $150. An appointed mediator may charge no more than $175 $200 for cancellation of an ADR Conference.

(c) Payment of Compensation by the Parties. Unless otherwise agreed to by the parties or ordered by the court, fees and expenses for the ADR conference shall be paid in equal shares per party. Payment shall be due upon conclusion of the conference unless other prior arrangements are have been made with the neutral, or unless a party advises the neutral of his or her intention to file a motion to be exempted from payment of neutral fees and expenses pursuant to Rule 9(d) a party's application for waiver has been granted by the court prior to mediation.

(d) Indigent Cases. Where a mediator has been appointed pursuant to paragraph (b), a party may move before the Chief Judge for Administrative Purposes seeking to be exempted from the payment of neutral fees and expenses based upon on indigency, shall file an application for indigency prior to the scheduling of the ADR Conference. Applications for indigency The application shall be filed no later than ten (10) days after the ADR conference has been concluded on a form approved by the Supreme Court or its designee. Determination of indigency shall be in the sole discretion of the Chief Judge for Administrative Purposes or his designee. In cases where leave to proceed in forma pauperis has been granted, a party is exempt from payment of neutral fees and expenses, and no application is required to be filed.