Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to the dispute mechanisms that have been introduced in order to resolve disputes in an expeditious and cost-effective manner, as opposed to costly and time consuming litigations.
Often when parties in negotiations fail to reach an agreement a dispute may occur. However, in order to resolve the dispute they have a number of dispute resolution mechanisms available to help them resolve the issue.
Instead of resorting to lengthy and costly traditional litigation through the court system, they can now turn to the alternative dispute resolution mechanisms which are proving popular as they provide for a quicker, less costly alternative, and which is also conducted outside the lengthy court system.
ADRs are suitable for the settlement of a variety of employment and commercial disputes involving insurance claims, personal injury, building construction, and even domestic disputes etc.
A major advantage of ADR is that, besides helping to resolve external disputes, it is also well suited to resolving delicate disputes within an organization itself.
Depending on the dispute there are various forms of ADR and related services that can be used, including negotiation, facilitation, mediation, expedited arbitration, mediation/arbitration, neutral evaluations, and investigations. The major ADR mechanisms most often used are mediation and expedited arbitration.
Mediation is effectively used in alternative dispute resolution as it provides the disputing parties with the opportunity to reach a mutually acceptable solution themselves, through the guidance of a neutral third party, the mediator.
The mediator's objective is to find possible solutions that would help the disputing parties get a solution that they can each live with, and still save face, without being forced to give in to the other side's position. This can be a very gradual process as the mediator strives to get both sides to make concessions until they reach common ground where they are both willing to reach a settlement. A party will usually hold out until the threshold is reached where they realize that by further holding out, they are actually hurting themselves.
Expedited arbitration is different to conventional arbitration which has a more formal or legalistic set of rules and procedures to be followed as the case works its way through the system. In expedited arbitration the focus is on a fast and less costly arbitration solution. In order to expedite the process there are strict time schedules and time limits, as well as limits restricting the amount of documents, and the length. In addition the fixed fee structure is set beforehand.
Some cases may provide for both mediation and arbitration to be used. In these situations mediation is the preferred mechanism to be used to resolve the disputes, with a clause providing the neutral mediator to also then act as the arbitrator if no solution is reached by the dispute parties through mediation. The mediator, now the arbitrator then reaches a decision that is binding on both the parties to the dispute.
If you are interested in Alternative Dispute Arbitration please contact one of the ADR specialists represented on this website or, if you have a labour relations problem and would like to know more about our services, contact us.