What is Alternate Dispute Resolution?

Whether you're a beginner or an expert, you will find this Glossary useful.

Alternate dispute resolution refers to a variety of informal processes which help resolve disputes between disagreeing parties without a trial, with the help of a third party.

what is alternate dispute resolution

Alternate dispute resolution definition (ADR)

Alternate dispute resolution refers to a variety of informal processes which help resolve disputes between disagreeing parties without a trial, with the help of a third party.

These processes are generally confidential, less formal and less stressful than traditional court proceedings.

Types of ADR

1. Mediation: a process in which an impartial person called a ''mediator'' helps the parties to reach the mutually accepted solution. The mediator does not decide over the dispute but helps parties to communicate in order to settle the dispute themselves.

2. Arbitration: a process in which an impartial person called an ''arbitrator'' hears arguments and evidence from both sides and then decides the outcome. Arbitration may be either "binding" or "nonbinding" where binding means that the parties waive their right to a trial and agree to accept the arbitrator's decision as final and nonbiding means that the parties are free to request a trial if they do not accept the arbitrator's decision.

3. Neutral evaluation: a process in which each party gets a chance to present the case to a neutral person called an "evaluator" who is often an expert in the subject. The evaluator then gives a non-binding opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of each party's evidence and arguments and about how the dispute could be resolved.

4. Settlement conferences: a process in which the parties and their attorneys meet with a judge or a neutral person called a "settlement officer" to discuss possible settlement of their dispute. The judge or settlement officer does not make a decision in the case but assists the parties in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the case and in negotiating a settlement.

Advantages of ADR over litigation:

- Suitable for multi-party disputes

- Lower costs

- Likelihood and speed of settlements

- Flexibility of process

- Parties' control of process

- Parties' choice of forum

- Practical solutions

- Wider range of issues can be considered

- Shared future interests may be protected

- Confidentiality

- Risk management

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