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46039176 Alternative Dispute Resolution

46039176 Alternative Dispute Resolution

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Published by Jeeta Sarkar

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Jeeta Sarkar on Apr 29, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) typically refers to processes and techniques of resolving disputes that fall outside of the judicial process (formal litigation – court).Some courts now require some parties to utilize ADR of some type, usuallymediation, before permitting the parties' cases to be tried. ADR is generallyclassified into at least four subtypes: negotiation, mediation, collaborative law, andarbitration. Sometimes a fifth type, conciliation, is included as well.One common element in most of the ADR procedures (with the exception of negotiation) is the presence of a person who acts either as the facilitator or decisionmaker. This facilitator is usually a neutral person who is capable of providing anunbiased opinion. Although, in collaborative law or collaborative divorce, each partyhas an attorney who facilitates the resolution process within specifically contractedterms.ADR is useful in a wide range of conflicts, such as commercial disputes, professionalliability cases, personal injury matters, insurance problems and family and divorcematters.
What Are the ADR Options?
 The most commonly used ADR processes are mediation, arbitration, neutralevaluation, and settlement conferences.
In mediation, an impartial person called a “mediator” helps the parties try to reacha mutually acceptable resolution of the dispute. The mediator does not decide thedispute but helps the parties communicate so they can try to settle the disputethemselves. Mediation leaves control of the outcome with the parties.
Cases for Which Mediation May Be Appropriate:
Mediation may be particularlyuseful when parties have a relationship they want to preserve. So when familymembers, neighbors, or business partners have a dispute, mediation may be theADR process to use.Mediation is also effective when emotions are getting in the way of resolution. Aneffective mediator can hear the parties out and help them communicate with eachother in an effective and nondestructive manner.
Cases for Which Mediation May Not Be Appropriate:
Mediation may not beeffective if one of the parties is unwilling to cooperate or compromise. Mediationalso may not be effective if one of the parties has a significant advantage in powerover the other. Therefore, it may not be a good choice if the parties have a historyof abuse or victimization.
In arbitration, a neutral person called an “arbitrator” hears arguments and evidencefrom each side and then decides the outcome of the dispute. Arbitration is lessformal than a trial, and the rules of evidence are often relaxed.Arbitration may be either “binding” or “nonbinding.” Binding arbitration means thatthe parties waive their right to a trial and agree to accept the arbitrator’s decisionas final. Generally, there is no right to appeal an arbitrator’s decision. Nonbindingarbitration means that the parties are free to request a trial if they do not acceptthe arbitrator’s decision.
Cases for Which Arbitration May Be Appropriate:
Arbitration is best for caseswhere the parties want another person to decide the outcome of their dispute forthem but would like to avoid the formality, time, and expense of a trial. It may alsobe appropriate for complex matters where the parties want a decision-maker whohas training or experience in the subject matter of the dispute.
Cases for Which Arbitration May Not Be Appropriate:
If parties want to retaincontrol over how their dispute is resolved, arbitration, particularly bindingarbitration, is not appropriate. In binding arbitration, the parties generally cannotappeal the arbitrator’s award, even if it is not supported by the evidence or the law.Even in nonbinding arbitration, if a party requests a trial and does not receive amore favorable result at trial than in arbitration, there may be penalties.
3.Neutral Evaluation
In neutral evaluation, each party gets a chance to present the case to a neutralperson called an “evaluator.” The evaluator then gives an opinion on the strengthsand weaknesses of each party’s evidence and arguments and about how thedispute could be resolved. The evaluator is often an expert in the subject matter of the dispute. Although the evaluator’s opinion is not binding, the parties typicallyuse it as a basis for trying to negotiate a resolution of the dispute.
Cases for Which Neutral Evaluation May Be Appropriate:
Neutral evaluationmay be most appropriate in cases in which there are technical issues that requirespecial expertise to resolve or the only significant issue in the case is the amount of damages.
Cases for Which Neutral Evaluation May Not Be Appropriate :
Neutralevaluation may not be appropriate when there are significant personal or emotionalbarriers to resolving the dispute.
4.Settlement Conference
Settlement conferences may be either mandatory or voluntary. In both types of settlement conferences, the parties and their attorneys meet with a judge or aneutral person called a “settlement officer” to discuss possible settlement of theirdispute. The judge or settlement officer does not make a decision in the case butassists the parties in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the case and innegotiating a settlement. Settlement conferences are appropriate in any casewhere settlement is an option. Mandatory settlement conferences are often heldclose to the date a case is set for trial.
5.Collaborative law
In collaborative law or collaborative divorce, each party has an attorney whofacilitates the resolution process within specifically contracted terms. The partiesreach agreement with support of the attorneys (who are trained in the process) andmutually-agreed experts. No one imposes a resolution on the parties. However, theprocess is a formalized process that is part of the litigation and court system.Rather than being an Alternative Resolution methodology it is a litigation variantthat happens to rely on ADR like attitudes and processes.
In negotiation, participation is voluntary and there is no third party who facilitatesthe resolution process or imposes a resolution.
Advantages of ADR
ADR has gained widespread acceptance among both the general public and thelegal profession in recent years. In fact, some courts now require some parties toresort to ADR of some type, usually mediation, before permitting the parties' casesto be tried .Here are some potential advantages of using ADR:

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