Q: Is mediation (Alternative Dispute Resolution) included in the prohibition against adjudicating in civil court?
A: Mediation (ADR), even with a gentile mediator, is not included in the prohibition, since the mediator is not authorized to issue a legal decision but rather guides the parties to mutual agreement. Therefore, when a person is sued in civil court he should prefer to settle through mediation rather than through a court ruling. Even so, court-ordered mediation is not ideal, since the mediation is initiated through filing a lawsuit and carried out under the shadow of a pending judicial trial.
Private mediation is certainly acceptable; it is even recommended to resolve the conflict through compromise. Although not required, the ideal is to seek a mediator who will try to guide the parties to a settlement close to Halachah (see C.M 12:1; Pischei Teshuvah 12:3).