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The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

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Introduction

The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) (question 1a) Introduction "Discourage litigation. Persuade neighbours to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often the real loser - in fees, expenses, and a waste of time." (Abraham Lincoln, July 1850) This statement gives the main reason for ADRs' creation which is to limit the amount of money and time spent on dispute resolution whenever it's possible, by avoiding litigation. Thus, ADRs are meant to be a relatively quick and cheap way to settle conflicts. They are a real alternative to litigation in Civil Courts. 1) The different types of ADR The four main ADRs are arbitration, conciliation, mediation and ombudsmen. * In mediation, the parties with the dispute meet in a neutral place, and an impartial third party, the mediator, helps them to reach an agreement. To do so, the mediator can ask questions to both parties letting them use the answers to agree on a solution (he does not interfere in the decision-making process). This kind of mediation is called "facilitative mediation". The mediator can also make some suggestions about the possible solutions to the dispute. This kind of mediation is called "evaluative mediation". However, in both cases, the final decision is made solely by the parties involved in the conflict and the remedies agreed are not restricted to the ones a Court could order. ...read more.

Middle

In fact, the law must have been taken into consideration during the decision-making process, but the arbitrator may also rely on his experience and reasonableness. * Ombudsmen deal with complaints against organisations or government bodies such as the NHS, in an impartial way. They are specialised, e.g., complaints about the NHS are taken care of by the Health Service Ombudsman, complaints about solicitors are taken care of by the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors, etc. Their role is to conduct some specific investigation (depending on the claim) in the organisation or government body, and order or recommend remedies if they think the person complaining suffered an injustice. They can also ask the organisation to review a particular aspect of its system if the investigation conducted have proven the system to be inefficient, or if several similar complaints have reached the Ombudsman. All ombudsmen don't have the same power, and decisions made by ombudsmen are not always binding. There are also other types of ADRs, such as "adjudication", "expert determination" and "early neutral evaluation". In these three cases, the parties agree to choose an independent third party (usually a lawyer or an expert in the field) to either issue a binding decision (e.g., in adjudication or in expert determination) ...read more.

Conclusion

The parties may prefer to refer their dispute to a specialist in the subject field and may therefore opt for an ADR which allows them to choose an expert third party to resolve (or help them resolve) their disagreement, e.g., in adjudication, expert determination, early neutral evaluation and in private arbitration. * In litigation, the parties are forced to attend the deliberation process at a time and place decided by the Court, which might not be convenient for them and discourage them from taking the dispute to the Court. ADRs can secure the settlement of their dispute without disturbing too much the parties' individual lives. * Overall, ADRs are usually cheaper than litigation which allows people with limited means to have access to justice. For this reason, ADRs are also suitable for small claims as the amount at stake can be smaller than the cost of litigation. * ADRs may provide a wider range of remedies (more informal) than litigation, e.g., an apology, a change in behaviour/policy/procedure, a new agreement, etc. * Finally, the use of ADRs has had the effect of relieving the courts congestion, making the civil justice system slightly quicker. Conclusion ADRs make access to justice easier mainly because of their flexibility and their capacity to adapt to specific cases. They can be a good alternative to litigation if there is no time boundary in bringing the case to the Courts, e.g., in employment cases. ...read more.

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