Methods used to settle disputes range from negotiation, to courtroom litigation. For some disputes businesses may prefer to use alternatives to costly and lengthy courtroom battles.
Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR, is a term used to refer to the whole spectrum of alternative ways of resolving disputes outside the formal adversarial court process. Noteworthy benefits of ADR are:
- When it works, alternative dispute resolution is often cheaper and quicker than litigation
- When it succeeds, it can often lead to a solution which accommodates commercial and personal interests as well as legal interests.
- Arbitration is a procedure whereby both parties to a dispute voluntarily agree to appoint a third party (usually an expert in that field) to hear their cases and make a decision.
- Arbitration often arises due to the commercial and business terms between the parties stipulating that any disputes about the contract will be governed by arbitration.
- The mechanism for appointing the third party to hear the dispute is often agreed in the contract and the entire procedure is confidential .
- Arbitration can be more expensive than the court process.
Mediation refers to any dispute resolution process where both parties to a dispute voluntarily agree to meet with a neutral third party mediator. At such meetings, the mediator will facilitate a discussion about the dispute, with a view to both parties listening to the concerns of the other, and reaching a mutually beneficial and acceptable agreement.
- it can provide a confidential process for resolving a dispute.
- There is often no decision made by the mediator as to what will happen. The mediator’s roles is purely to help broker a deal between the parties.
- There is an opportunity to preserve a relationship between parties, so it is particularly suitable in disputes involving families, and licensors and licensees.
- It allows both parties to air concerns which might not be relevant to a written or formal process, but which are deeply important to the parties. For example, one party might see an apology as more important than financial recompense.
Choosing a type of dispute resolution
At Azrights we look at each dispute in an individual way, and focus on how best to help our clients solve the particular issues that have arisen.
Alternative Dispute Resolution may be appropriate to your dispute in which case we will explore this with you early on.