Washington Law Review


Robert F. Utter


It gives me great pleasure to submit this essay as part of a tribute to Professor Luvern Rieke. I first met him in his initial year of teaching contracts at the University of Washington, when I was a beginning law student. We later worked together in a variety of contexts including ecumenical religious projects; matters concerning domestic relations subjects when I served on the King County Superior Court bench; and on the Judicial Council, where I served as a member of the Washington State Supreme Court. To each role he brought a unique combination of personal qualities: he was thoughtful, courteous, concerned, and actively involved in making law the servant of the people rather than the master. In recent years, I have been privileged to lead two comparative law study groups to the People's Republic of China (People's Republic) as part of the People to People program. Although my knowledge of China's legal and judicial systems is superficial at best, its long history of using dispute resolution mechanisms, rather than the courts, offers a fresh and interesting perspective. Despite cultural, political, and historical differences, Chinese methods and philosophies of alternate dispute resolution have lessons for those seeking improvement in our traditional Western adjudicative model. Professor Rieke's lifelong interest in finding more appropriate methods for our society to resolve its problems makes this short paper an appropriate subject for a tribute to him.

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