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Introduction to the Concept of Alternative Dispute Resolution

Also known as conflict resolution, Dispute resolution is nothing but resolving a matter of dispute between two or more parties. There are many processes for dispute resolution and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is one of them.

In order to get a dispute resolved, you need to hire one of the best dispute resolution law firms. However, before that, you need to possess good knowledge and understanding of ADR yourself.

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

The concept of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) denotes the process in which disputes are addressed and settled outside of the courtroom. In a more detailed language, ADR refers to the ways in which disputes are resolved without litigation. These ways may involve negotiation, arbitration, or mediation. The processes of ADR are generally more expeditious and less pricey. As a matter of fact, ADR is used in disputes, which have the potential of leading to litigation. Such disputes may involve labor disputes, personal injury accusations, and divorce actions.

Unlike traditional litigation, the procedures of ADR are generally collaborative, letting the parties realize each other’s perspectives. ADR even lets the parties analyze and suggest creative solutions, which a typical courtroom does not permit to impose legally.

Which Disputes Can be Resolved with ADR?

ADR processes can possibly be implemented for resolving disputes including:

  • Neighbor Disputes: includes problems with Homeowners’ Associations and frequent violation of noise ordinance.
  • Family Disputes: includes divorce actions, child custody, etc.
  • Housing Disputes: includes issues related to housing discrimination and non-maintenance of a liveable house.
  • Workplace Disputes: includes workplace issues like workplace harassment, employee disputes, and hour and wage disputes.
  • Personal Injury: includes road accident cases and medical malpractice claims.
  • Business Disputes: includes business debt and contract disputes
  • Environmental Disputes: includes air pollution and hazardous waste dumping.
  • Consumer Contract Disputes: includes a warranty and product liability.

Different Kinds of Alternative Dispute Resolution

Mediation: This kind of ADR makes use of an unbiased third party known as a mediator. The mediator does not have the right to decide any outcome of a dispute or compel the disputing entities to agree upon the same. The mediator working with the disputing entities tries to reach a mutual solution, which is usually non-binding. The mediation can be mandated by the courts if necessary, but the entire procedure remains voluntary, offering the disputing entities the chance to deny the agreement. Mediation is totally confidential and the entities can control the process. The disputing entities can even go for litigation after mediation if they do not agree to the agreement.

Arbitration: This kind of ADR is somewhat like a non-formal trial and makes use of an unbiased third party. A decision is issued by the chosen third party after it hears each side. According to what the disputing entities have agreed upon, this decision is non-binding or binding. If binding, this decision is considered to be final and can be legally enforced. Irrespective of the arbiter is a practicing facilitator, the process of arbitration is not considered formal since many evidence rules do not apply here.

Negotiation: This kind of ADR does not involve any unbiased third party for assisting the disputing entities to come to a negotiation. The entities work together and reach a compromise. During negotiations, the disputing entities can get their lawyers to represent them.

Mini Trial: This kind of ADR happens to be more of a settlement procedure than a traditional trial. Each of the disputing entities presents its summarized case. Once the process comes to an end, the representatives of the entities try to resolve the issue. In case they fail to do so, an unbiased advisor issues a non-binding decision.

Summary Jury Trial: This kind of ADR is somewhat similar to what is called a mini-trial. That being said, in an SJT the matter is presented before an unbiased mock jury, who issues an advisory decision. After listening to the decision, the court generally advises the disputing entities to try to reach a settlement before proceeding for litigation.

Med-Arb: This kind of ADR involves an arbiter, who first acts as an unbiased mediator, but issues a binding agreement if the mediation fails. In general, Med-Arb happens to be an amalgamation of arbitration and mediation, which has advantages of both.

The Final Words
It is highly recommended to the disputing parties to always try the ADR process before going for formal litigation. ADR is both times as well as cost-effective and hiring one of the most reputed dispute resolution law firms can prove to be a fruitful investment. These firms can help you in deciding which kind of ADR process is suitable for your dispute.

They can offer you strategy meetings and consultations beforehand and can also represent you in the course of your ADR proceedings. All these make it quite essential to work with a skilled and experienced dispute resolution lawyer in your dispute case.

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