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Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to any means of setting disputes outside of the Court Room.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to a variety of processes that help parties to resolve disputes without a trial.

The process by which disputes between the parties are settled or brought to an amicable result without the intervention of Judicial Institution and without any trail is known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR.
  • ADR offers to resolve all type of matters including civil, commercial, industrial and family etc., where people are not being able to start any type of negotiation and reach the settlement.
  • Generally, ADR uses neutral third party who helps the parties to communicate, discuss the differences and resolve the dispute.
  • It is a method which enables individuals and group to maintain co-operation, social order and provides opportunity to reduce hostility.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanisms

  • ADR is a mechanism of dispute resolution that is non adversarial, i.e. working together co-operatively to reach the best resolution for everyone.
  • ADR can be instrumental in reducing the burden of litigation on courts, while delivering a well-rounded and satisfying experience for the parties involved.
  • It provides the opportunity to "expand the pie" through creative, collaborative bargaining, and fulfill the interests driving their demands.

Types of ADR


  • The dispute is submitted to an arbitral tribunal which makes a decision (an "award") on the dispute that is mostly binding on the parties.
  • It is less formal than a trial, and the rules of evidence are often relaxed.
  • Generally, there is no right to appeal an arbitrator's decision.
  • Except for some interim measures, there is very little scope for judicial intervention in the arbitration process.


  • A non-binding procedure in which an impartial third party, the conciliator, assists the parties to a dispute in reaching a mutually satisfactory agreed settlement of the dispute.
  • Conciliation is a less formal form of arbitration.
  • The parties are free to accept or reject the recommendations of the conciliator.
  • However, if both parties accept the settlement document drawn by the conciliator, it shall be final and binding on both.


  • In mediation, an impartial person called a "Mediator" helps the parties try to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of the dispute.
  • The mediator does not decide the dispute but helps the parties communicate so they can try to settle the dispute themselves.
  • Mediation leaves control of the outcome with the parties.


  • A non-binding procedure in which discussions between the parties are initiated without the intervention of any third party with the object of arriving at a negotiated settlement to the dispute.
  • It is the most common method of Alternative Dispute Resolution.
  • Negotiation occurs in business, non-profit organizations, government branches, legal proceedings, among nations and in personal situations such as marriage, divorce, parenting, and everyday life.

Lok Adalat

  • An interesting feature of the Indian legal system is the existence of voluntary agencies called Lok Adalats (Peoples' Courts).
  • The Legal Services Authorities Act was passed in 1987 to encourage out-of-court settlements, and
  • the new Arbitration and Conciliation Act was enacted in 1996.
  • Lok Adalat or "People's Court" comprises an informal setting which facilitates negotiations in the presence of a judicial officer wherein cases are dispensed without undue emphasis on legal technicalities.
  • The order of the Lok-Adalat is final and shall be deemed to be a decree of a civil court and shall be binding on the parties to the dispute.
  • The order of the Lok-Adalat is not appealable in a court of law

Importance of ADR In India

  • To deal with the situation of pendency of cases in courts of India, ADR plays a significant role in India by its diverse techniques.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism provides scientifically developed techniques to Indian judiciary which helps in reducing the burden on the courts.
  • ADR provides various modes of settlement including, arbitration, conciliation, mediation, negotiation and lok Adalat. Here, negotiation means self-counseling between the parties to resolve their dispute but it doesn’t have any statutory recognition in India.
  • ADR is also founded on such fundamental rights, article 14 and 21 which deals with equality before law and right to life and personal liberty respectively.
  • ADR’s motive is to provide social-economic and political justice and maintain integrity in the society enshrined in the preamble.
  • ADR also strive to achieve equal justice and free legal aid provided under Article 39-A relating to Directive Principle of State Policy (DPSP).
  • ADR has proven successful in clearing the backlog of cases in various levels of the judiciary –
  • Lok Adalats alone have disposed more than 50 lakh cases every year on average in the last three years.
  • But there seems to be a lack of awareness about the availability of these mechanisms.
The National and State Legal Services Authorities should disseminate more information regarding these, so they become the first option explored by potential litigants.

Important Provisions Related To ADR

  • Section 89 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 provides that opportunity to the people, if it appears to court there exist elements of settlement outside the court then court formulate the terms of the possible settlement and refer the same for: Arbitration, Conciliation, Mediation or Lok Adalat.
  • The Acts which deals with Alternative Dispute Resolution are
    i. Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and,
    ii.The Legal Services Authority Act, 1987

Advantages of Alternative Dispute Resolution

  • Less Time Consuming: people resolve their dispute in short period as compared to courts
  • Cost effective method: it saves lot of money if one undergoes in litigation process.
  • It is free from technicalities of courts; here informal ways are applied in resolving dispute.
  • People are free to express themselves without any fear of court of law. They can reveal the true facts without disclosing it to any court.
  • Efficient way: there are always chances of restoring relationship back as parties discuss their issues together on the same platform.
  • It prevents further conflict and maintains good relationship between the parties.
  • It preserves the best interest of the parties.

Written By: Er Khaliqul Azam - (DME, B.E, MA, Pursuing LLB), Ms Law College, Motihari 07762900229, Email: [email protected]

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