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Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is the name given to the process where parties in a dispute come to a compromise or settle their dispute without going to court.

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Introduction

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is the name given to the process where parties in a dispute come to a compromise or settle their dispute without going to court. The main reason people use ADR is to save the expense of using the courts and solicitors. There are four main forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution. Negotiation is the simplest form of ADR. Where two people have a dispute they can negotiate a solution themselves. The advantages to the parties involved are that it is completely private and it's fast and cheap. Mediation is where a neutral person the mediator helps the parties to reach a compromise. The job of the mediator is to consult with each party and see how much common ground there is between them. S/he should act as a facilitator, taking offers between the parties. The mediator doesn't offer an opinion. Mediation is most suitable where there is some chance that the parties will co-operate. Mediation is not legally binding on the parties. There are a number of organisations that offer mediation services. ...read more.

Middle

This judgment will then be legally binding on the parties. The relevant law on arbitration can be found in the Arbitration Act 1996. The agreement to go to arbitration can be made by the parties at any time. It can be written into a business contract by what is called a Scott v Avery clause or the parties may just agree on arbitration when a dispute arises. The parties can agree the number of arbitrators who will hear their dispute. It could be three, two or just one person. The parties will normally appoint someone who is an expert in their particular area of business. There is also the Institute of Arbitrators who will provide trained arbitrators to parties who wish to settle a dispute. The actual procedure to be followed in any arbitration hearing is left to the parties to decide. Therefore, arbitration hearings can take many forms. The parties can decide on a paper arbitration, which means the parties submit everything to the arbitrator in writing, who will then read everything and make a decision. ...read more.

Conclusion

Costs to the Parties - All forms of ADR are far cheaper than taking a case to court. Costs to the State - Every case resolved using ADR saves the Government money. Saving of Court Time - Every case solved through ADR stops the courts being over burdened with cases. Disadvantages of Alternative Dispute Resolution Unequal Bargaining Power - In certain situations one side is able to dominate the other, for example, employment and divorce cases, making the courts a better option for a weak party. Lack of Legal Expertise - Where a dispute involves difficult legal points a mediator or arbitrator is unlikely to have the same legal expertise and knowledge as a judge. No System of Precedent - It isn't easy to predict the outcome of a dispute decided through ADR as there is no system of precedent. Enforceability - Most forms of ADR are not legally binding, making any award difficult to enforce. A Court action may still be required - If using ADR fails to resolve the parties' dispute, court action may still be needed. This adds to the costs and delays compared to taking a dispute direct to the courts in the first place. House of Lords backs arbitration, click here or see the News page. ...read more.

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