Alternative Dispute Resolution | ADR

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to any procedure that resolves a dispute without resorting to litigation. Simply put, it is a method of resolving a dispute or claim outside of the courtroom. Before pursuing ADR, both parties must agree on it. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods typically involve the use of a neutral third party to assist in reaching a resolution.

What kind disputes  or conflicts can be managed by Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) can help with a variety of civil disputes, conflicts, or claims. Some examples of topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Housing
  • Family and divorce
  • Community and neighbourhood
  • Environment
  • Employment
  • Business
  • Personal injury

Is it common to use an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has a long history and is widely used by individuals, groups, and organisations. Individuals who do not want to go to court over civil matters frequently choose ADR. In some cases, courts may encourage the use of ADR, particularly in cases that have been pending for a long time. Although the reasons for using ADR vary from person to person, it is generally more cost-effective and time-saving than formal litigation.

What are the advantages of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

Using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) instead of formal litigation can benefit all parties. The following are the perceived benefits of ADR in general:

  • It is less expensive than going to court.
  • It saves time.
  • More opportunities for both parties to present their case.
  • Less formal and more adaptable to both parties' needs.
  • Gives everyone more privacy.
  • Less hostile and more likely to keep relationships intact.
  • More control over the process and an amicable outcome for both parties.

What are common types of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

The following are the most common methods or types of ADR:


Negotiation is almost always used as the first ADR method. It is straightforward and simple where both parties meet to resolve the conflict or dispute. There is no neutral third party involved. The disputing parties meet during the negotiation process to identify the problem and explore potential solutions before reaching an agreement. They handle the negotiations on their own. It gives both parties more power over the negotiation process and outcome.


Both parties continue to work to resolve their conflict in this type of ADR. However, an impartial or neutral person acts as a "mediator." The mediator has no say or opinion on the outcome of the case. The mediator's role is to assist both parties in communicating. Each party has the opportunity to present their case and discuss how they can reach their own solution. Mediation is useful for disputes between family members or business partners where the relationship must be maintained.


Arbitration is similar to mediation in that it involves a neutral third party. The difference is that the neutral person, or "arbitrator," is the one who determines the outcome. Even if a third party will make the decision, arbitration is less formal than courtroom litigation. Before making a decision, the arbitrator hears both sides' arguments and concerns and considers all evidence presented.

Arbitration can be "binding" or "non-binding." Both parties must accept the arbitrator's decision as final in binding arbitration. There is no possibility of an appeal. A non-binding arbitration, on the other hand, means that each party may request a court trial if they do not agree with the outcome.

Unbiased Evaluation

An "evaluator" is a neutral third party who is usually an expert on the subject of the dispute in a neutral evaluation. Each party has the opportunity to present their arguments, concerns, and evidence to the evaluator. Following that, the evaluator expresses an opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of each disputing party. Furthermore, the evaluator suggests possible resolutions to the conflict or dispute. The evaluator's assessment is not legally binding. It is used by both parties to assist them in resolving their dispute.

Settlement Conferences

During a settlement conference, both parties and their lawyers meet with a neutral person or judge known as a "settlement officer." The outcome is not decided by the settlement officer. Instead, the officer assists both parties in assessing the case's strengths and weaknesses and negotiating a settlement. This type of ADR can be voluntary or mandatory, as ordered by a court prior to the start of a trial.

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