Out-of-court methods to resolve disputes. The principal methods are Arbitration and Mediation. Also known as ADR. All parties to a dispute must agree in writing to have their dispute heard in ADR. When submitting to Binding Arbitration, the parties give up their right to have the dispute decided in the court system.
See our Resource page alternative dispute resolution resource and our Store page alternative dispute resolution coach for more.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR), or external dispute resolution (EDR), typically denotes a wide range of dispute resolution processes and techniques that parties can use to settle disputes with the help of a third party. They are used for disagreeing parties who cannot come to an agreement short of litigation. However, ADR is also increasingly being adopted as a tool to help settle disputes within the court system.
Despite historic resistance to ADR by many popular parties and their advocates, ADR has gained widespread acceptance among both the general public and the legal profession in recent years. In fact, some courts now require some parties to resort to ADR of some type like mediation, before permitting the parties' cases to be tried (indeed the European Mediation Directive (2008) expressly contemplates so-called "compulsory" mediation. This means that attendance is compulsory, not that settlement must be reached through mediation). Additionally, parties to merger and acquisition transactions are increasingly turning to ADR to resolve post-acquisition disputes.
The rising popularity of ADR can be explained by the increasing caseload of traditional courts, the perception that ADR imposes fewer costs than litigation, a preference for confidentiality, and the desire of some parties to have greater control over the selection of the individual or individuals who will decide their dispute. Some of the senior judiciary in certain jurisdictions (of which England and Wales is one) are strongly in favour of this (ADR) use of mediation to settle disputes. Since the 1990s many American courts have also increasingly advocated for the use of ADR to settle disputes. However, it is not clear as to whether litigants can properly identify and then use the ADR programmes available to them, thereby potentially limiting their effectiveness.