Alternative Dispute Resolution

Methods for resolving disputes outside of traditional courtroom litigation, such as mediation and arbitration.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to various methods and techniques for resolving legal disputes outside traditional courtroom litigation. The two primary forms are mediation and arbitration. ADR aims to provide more efficient, cost-effective, and consensual ways to settle disagreements than lengthy and expensive lawsuits.

In mediation, a pivotal role is played by a neutral third-party mediator. This mediator facilitates negotiations between the conflicting sides, aiming to guide them toward a voluntary, mutually acceptable settlement. Importantly, the mediator has no power to impose a binding decision, allowing the parties to retain control over the outcome. Mediation takes place in an informal, confidential setting, further enhancing its appeal.

Arbitration, in contrast, is a more formal process. Here, the parties present their evidence and arguments to a neutral third-party arbitrator(s). This arbitrator then imposes a binding decision, taking into account the circumstances and relevant laws/regulations. The outcomes of arbitration are legally enforceable, final, and subject to a limited review process, providing a structured and definitive resolution to disputes.

Other ADR methods include:

  • Neutral evaluation is where a third party assesses the merits of each side’s case.
  • Settlement conferences overseen by a judge.
  • Collaborative law is where parties negotiate directly while represented by attorneys.

ADR has expanded rapidly as businesses and individuals seek quicker, more private, flexible dispute resolution than overcrowded public courts. Many contracts today require ADR methods like arbitration to resolve future disputes.

Term found in articles:

Choose Practice Area