Alternative Dispute Resolution Primer
Disagreements or misunderstandings can arise between even the best of friends, business partners, or parties to any contract. There are three formal processes that people can use when conflicts or issues reach an impasse.
Litigation, Arbitration, and Mediation.
Arbitration and mediation are methods known as alternative dispute resolution ADR and are alternatives to traditional litigation but often used in conjunction with it. Parties try to negotiate first and if that fails they move forward to a hearing or trial.
With litigation courts provide a forum for parties to confront each other for a judge or jury to decide who wins what? It can often take years before a decision or judgment is handed down. Arbitration is also an adversarial process where parties present evidence and make arguments so a neutral third party can make a decision. The main difference between litigation and arbitration though is that arbitration is much less expensive and time-consuming. Mediation allows parties themselves to decide whether and how to move forward while the neutral facilitates the conversation or negotiation to hopefully reach a settlement agreement. Unlike litigation and arbitration, parties may discover ways forward that don’t involve the recovery of damages or money but could be much more creative.
ADR can be a great way to resolve conflict, consider cost, confidentiality timing, and the ongoing relationship when you’re deciding how to handle disputes.