The Dispute Resolution Center

The Dispute Resolution Center has been in place for over 28 years, providing community-based and court-connected dispute resolution services to Berkshire County residents. The Center also serves as a leader in mediation and dispute resolution trainings and courses, helping individuals meet their personal and professional goals.

Services Offered

Mediation

Mediation is a voluntary and confidential dispute resolution process in which a neutral third party assists the disputing parties to identify and discuss issues of mutual concern, explore solutions, and develop mutually acceptable settlements.

In mediation, the participants control the outcomes. Frequently they devise creative solutions that meet their particular needs in less time, at less cost, and with greater satisfaction than through litigation.

Free Court-Connected Mediation Services

  • Landlord/Tenant disputes, including eviction cases
  • Small Claims disputes
  • Neighbor disputes
  • Property and real estate disputes
  • Contract and other commercial disputes
  • Consumer/Creditor disputes
  • Trespass and Nuisance disputes
  • Criminal Show Cause Cases, including bullying/cyber-bullying and harassment cases
  • Other civil disputes

Free Community-Based Mediation Services

Family/School Mediation Program

Currently accessible at Conte Elementary and Reid Middle School, the Family/School Program offers dispute resolution services to students, teachers, and parents. The specific processes offered under the program include, but are not limited to, on-site mediations, restorative practices, and conflict coaching.

Agricultural Mediation Program

The Center is certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide mediation services to the Massachusetts farming community. Specific issues include:

Involving USDA:

  • Agricultural loans made by USDA or other commercial lenders
  • Action on farm & conservation programs
  • Wetland determinations
  • Rural water loan programs
  • Rural housing, & business loans
  • Crop insurance

Other covered issues:

  • Agricultural credit and leasing issues, including land and equipment
  • Pesticides
  • Organic certification
  • Family farm transition
  • Farm/neighbor disputes
  • Farmers market issues
  • Workplace interaction

Other Free Community-Based Mediation Services

  • Landlord/Tenant disputes, including eviction cases
  • Neighbor/Neighborhood disputes
  • Property and Real Estate disputes
  • Contract and other Commercial disputes
  • Trespass and Nuisance disputes
  • Elder and estate planning related disputes

Additional Dispute Resolution Services Available

Conflict coaching

Conflict Coaching is a one-on-one process to develop a party’s conflict understanding, interaction strategies, and/or interaction skills. Conflict coaching helps individuals:

    • Understand and analyze their conflict from self and other perspectives
    • Identify a preferred direction for the relationship and conflicting situation
    • Develop specific skills to enact the preferred direction

Conciliation

Conciliation is a process in which a neutral third party assists the disputing parties to settle a case by clarifying issues and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each side of the case, and if the case is not settled, explores the steps which remain to prepare the case for trial.

Facilitation

Facilitation is a process in which a neutral third party helps a group work together more effectively. Facilitation services are offered to both small groups within an organization as well as representatives of different organizations who are working together in a collaborative or consensus building process.

The above services are offered telephonically and through video conferencing as well as through more traditional face to face meetings.

To request any of the above services, click here: Request for Dispute Resolution Services

Real Estate Dispute Resolution System (DRS) for Buyer/Seller/Broker Disputes

BCRHA administers the Berkshire County Board of REALTORS® endorsed Dispute Resolution System (DRS) to resolve real estate disputes involving buyers, sellers, and/or brokers. The program is designed to improve the understanding between the real estate professionals and their clients and provide an alternative to burdensome and costly legal procedures. Parties do not forfeit their legal rights to arbitrate or litigate the dispute if mediation is unsuccessful. The fee for DRS mediations is $250/hour, which is split between the parties to the dispute.
(Request for Real Estate Mediation )

Dispute Resolution Rules and Procedures- Real Estate -2018

Training Courses Available 

Annual Basic Mediation Training (March 2020)

The Dispute Resolution Center offers several training opportunities each year, including a Basic Mediation Training, which provides participants with the resources and tools required to effectively resolve disputes. The Center’s 35-hour training meets the training requirement outlined in the Massachusetts Confidentiality Statute (MGL c. 233, s.23C) and Rule 8 of the MA Supreme Judicial Court’s Uniform Rules on Dispute Resolution.

Dates & Times: March 6, 7, 13, 14 & 20th

9:00-4:30

Location: 1 Fenn St 3rd Floor Pittsfield, MA 01201

Cost: $750* (*If, after the training, you can commit to one year of voluntary mediation service with our Center, the cost will be $400)

Follow this link to register: Click Here

Volunteer Opportunities

The Center offers several volunteer opportunities for those looking to get involved in mediation and enhance their skill set. The opportunities include both court-connected and community-based work. Volunteers at the Center must successfully complete a Basic Mediation Training and are required to receive 6 hours of relevant continuing education each year. Volunteers are offered several training opportunities through the Center each year in addition to networking opportunities with other volunteer mediators in the area.

For more information on volunteering, please contact Kayla Wendling @ (413) 344-4812 or kaylaw@bcrha.com

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