What is ADR?

‘ADR’ is the abbreviation of ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

 ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution’ is a different way in which parties involved in a dispute can solve their problems and settle their arguments without having to attend court.

What ways are there? 

  1. Negotiation
  2. Mediation
  3. Round Table Meeting
  4. Conciliation
  5. Arbitration

What is Negotiation?

The negotiation process is an informal approach between the parties themselves or their lawyers. This is the quickest and cheapest way of solving issues. The people involved in the dispute enter into contact directly and privately to resolve their issues. There is not a third entity controlling the affected persons’ decision.

What is Mediation?

Mediation involves a third party who is independent to the dispute and therefore neutral. It appears to help the parties in reaching an agreement. The person is called a ‘mediator’ and they are not entitled to give their personal opinion about the dispute in question, but simply to facilitate between the parties. Their main duties are helping the parties to clarify their positions. A good mediator is a person who has been trained to give assistance to the parties in the way of researching good and satisfactory solutions. Mediators do not make judgments or decide the outcome of the dispute. They ask questions that help to uncover underlying problems, assist the parties to understand the issues and help them to clarify the options for resolving their difference or dispute.

What is a Round Table Meeting?

This is similar to mediation, however lawyers assist in narrowing the issues and aid the parties in reaching a resolution.

What is Conciliation?

A step further, is the conciliation process. It is managed by the conciliator, who has similar duties to the mediator, but with a very big difference, the conciliator is entitled to suggest solutions to the case. Conciliation focuses on what you and the other party want and tries to find a way of solving the problem. Both you and the other party can put your case but one of you may have to give way more, to find the best solution to the problem.

The principles of the conciliation process are:

Voluntariness: The parties have the right to withdraw from the conciliation process at any time.

Impartiality: The conciliator is not related with any of the parties. If this compromise is breached the parties can ask for changing the conciliator.

Confidentiality: The information given by the parties in the process is unequivocally confidential, it means that only the parties and the conciliator have access to it.

Good faith: The information given by the parties must be reliable. It is important to achieve a real solution to the case.

What is Arbitration? 

According to the Arbitration Act 1996, if the parties decide to initiate an arbitration process they will have to submit to an arbitrator usually from the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), to a panel of arbitrators or to an arbitral institution.

This is decided and appointed by the parties themselves or, if they do not achieve a settlement, the court can be asked to select one. This system is pretty similar to the formal procedure in a court with a judge. In fact, the decision taken by an arbitrator is called an ‘award’ and it binds the parties. If they do not obey this commitment the court can force them to do it. The arbitral award can only being taken to the court if it is questioned about serious irregularity in the proceedings or on a point of law.

Arbitration is an easier way of achieving an agreement because it offers: flexibility to choose the time, place and sort of procedure; speed, and cheaper costs.

The decision the arbitrator makes is legally binding. You will not be able to go to court later if you do not agree with the outcome. It is still usually cheaper than going to court.

IN A NUTSHELLnutshell1

NEGOTIATION Parties themselves
MEDIATION Parties with help of neutral third party.
CONCILIATION Parties with help of neutral third party who plays an active role in suggesting a solution
ARBITRATION Parties agree to let third party make a binding decision

If you require any further information about ADR, please contact our friendly team at Watson Legal either by calling 01279 466910 to book your free 30 minute consultation or email

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