(1) That due to growing concern with limits on access to justice arising from court case backlog, delays and costs, that it has been beneficial to implement an alternative dispute resolution program in various circuit courts of our state and in certain administrative proceedings;
(2) That since implementation, these procedures have proven to be a highly-effective method for resolving disputes without resorting to adjudicatory measures, thereby easing the burden of cases pending in the judicial system;
(3) That alternative dispute resolution is continually changing the perceptions regarding the appropriateness and effectiveness of court procedures, and that the continuation and growth of these procedures is important in enhancing the quality of life for the citizens of this state;
(4) That the effectiveness of the alternative dispute resolution programs implemented in the state and in other states has increased but more definition and synthesis is necessary to better serve the citizens; and
(5) That the purpose of this article is to create a commission, as hereinafter constituted and appointed, to study various facets of alternative dispute resolution including, but not limited to, defining the objectives and goals of the programs, the types of disputes to be resolved, the promulgation of a system to ensure appropriate uniformity of alternative dispute resolution programs statewide, certification or licensure of persons engaged in providing services in alternative methods of resolving disputes and the structuring and funding of such programs.
(b) The Legislature further declares that it recognizes that the provisions of section 1, article V of the constitution of West Virginia prohibit any person from exercising the powers of more than one branch or department of government at the same time; however, it is the express purpose, intent and finding of the Legislature that those members of the commission who are members of the Legislature are acting as such while serving on the commission and in the furtherance of the Legislature's inherent right and power to investigate and inquire into and report on those matters which are legitimately within its powers, and that since the commission's role and duties are investigative and reportive in nature, the service upon the commission by its legislative members is not violative of nor inimical to the constitutional mandate with respect to the separation of governmental powers.
(a) The chief justice of the supreme court of appeals of West Virginia, or his or her designee, shall serve as the chair of the commission, and shall appoint two additional members, one of whom is currently serving as a circuit court judge;
(b) The speaker of the House of Delegates and the president of the Senate, or their respective designee, shall be members, and the speaker of the House of Delegates and the president of the Senate shall appoint one additional member;
(c) Two members shall be appointed by the governor who shall be representative private citizens;
(d) The dean of the West Virginia university college of law shall appoint one faculty member to the commission who possesses knowledge and experience unique in alternative dispute resolution processes; and
(e) The executive director of the West Virginia state bar.
(b) The expenses of the members of the commission shall be paid from legislative appropriations.
(c) Members of the commission shall receive no other compensation for their services on or with the commission other than the reimbursement of expenses as provided in this section.
(d) The president of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Delegates shall designate a member of the legislative staff to serve as counsel and reporter to the commission.
(a) To conduct a thorough and comprehensive study into the various ways and means of financing and structuring the alternative dispute resolution programs, define the goals and objectives of alternative methods of resolving disputes in the state, determine types of disputes to be included within any alternative dispute resolution programs, evaluate the advantages of establishing certification or licensure of persons engaged in providing services in alternative methods of resolving disputes and propose a system to ensure appropriate uniformity of alternative dispute resolution programs statewide;
(b) To request such information and data from any state officer or agency or from any political subdivision of the state as the commission may deem necessary to assist it in the performance of its duties and it shall be the duty of all such officers and agencies to cooperate with and assist the commission in and about the completion of its studies and deliberations;
(c) To confer with representative citizens, the judiciary, the legal profession and other groups of the private and business sectors with respect to all matters deemed relevant to the duties of the commission;
(d) To notify the chair of the commission on the future of the judiciary so that the commission established herein may share information with such commission on the future of the judiciary;
(e) To perform every other act necessary or desirable to carry out any of the other powers, duties or responsibilities enumerated in this article; and
(f) To file its final report with respect to its findings and conclusions, together with any legislation it deems appropriate to recommend and as it deems necessary to carry its findings and conclusions into effect with the president of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Delegates not later than the thirtieth day of November, one thousand nine hundred ninety-eight.
(b) The commission shall cease its existence on the thirty-first day of December, one thousand nine hundred ninety-eight.
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.