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What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

These days, an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is an increasingly popular, cost-effective and efficient way of resolving disputes. But what is Alternative Dispute Resolution? and how does it work?

ADR is a process that enables parties to come to an agreement without the need to use the traditional court system. It’s a form of conflict resolution that is not only quick and simple but can also save time and money and preserve relationships.

ADR can involve mediation, arbitration, or negotiation and can be used to resolve a wide range of disputes, from business issues to family or community matters.

  • ADR enables parties to come to an agreement without the court system
  • ADR is a quick and easy form of conflict resolution
  • ADR can include mediation, arbitration, and negotiation

What is alternative dispute resolution?

Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR, is a process for resolving disputes outside of the courts. It’s often used for commercial as well as non-commercial disputes and is available in several forms, including mediation, arbitration, and negotiation.

ADR has many advantages over litigation, including lower costs, speedier resolution, and greater satisfaction for all parties involved. In each case, the goal is to resolve disagreements in a less adversarial setting, while decreasing the costs and time associated with litigation.

  • ADR is a process for resolving disputes outside the court system
  • The goal of ADR is to resolve disputes in a less adversarial environment

What is involved in alternative dispute resolution?

In order to understand the process of alternative dispute resolution, it is important to understand what happens during the various stages of formal dispute resolution.

Formal dispute resolution is the process of resolving disputes through the court system. At the onset of a dispute, the parties involved in the matter must file a claim, or a formal request to be heard in court. If the other party does not accept the claim or does not respond to the claim, a party may then file a “complaint,” or a formal declaration of the dispute and what action he or she would like the court to take.

Once a complaint is filed, the other party will have to respond in writing, pleading either “guilty” or “not guilty” to the action. If they plead guilty, the case can be resolved. If they plead “not guilty,” the matter will go to trial. After the trial, the judge will issue a formal decision that will be binding on both parties. Alternative Dispute Resolution aims to avoid this lengthy process by expediting a resolution via various means.

Let’s go over the different types of ADR in more detail.


In mediation, both parties to a dispute meet with a neutral third party who helps them to communicate and reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Mediation is most often used to settle family law disputes, such as divorce or child custody battles. In many communities, mediation is offered as an alternative to litigation.

Unlike litigation, mediation is less confrontational, cheaper, and quicker. Mediators are not judges, lawyers, or decision-makers. A mediator’s job is to help both parties to communicate, understand each other’s positions, and come up with a solution that they can both agree on. Mediation is voluntary, confidential, and cost-free.


In arbitration, parties to a dispute agree to have their case heard by an arbitrator, who will then issue a decision. Arbitration is often used in commercial disputes and can be either “binding” or “non-binding.”

In binding arbitration, the arbitrator’s decision is final and binding on both parties. In non-binding arbitration, the arbitrator’s decision is not legally binding, but the parties may still decide to follow the arbitrator’s advice. Unlike litigation, arbitration is private, faster, and less expensive.


Negotiation, like mediation, is a form of ADR that involves both parties coming together to resolve the dispute. Unlike mediation, both sides are actively involved in the process, discussing and coming up with solutions by themselves.

Like mediation, negotiation is voluntary and confidential and does not require the parties to hire lawyers. Negotiation is a great way to resolve conflicts without having to go to court and can be done informally through conversation or with the assistance of a mediator.

  • Mediation involves coming up with a voluntary resolution with the help of a third-party mediator
  • Arbitration involves allowing a third-party arbitrator to settle the dispute and can be either binding or non-binding
  • Negotiation involves discussing the dispute and attempting to find a mutually satisfactory outcome

Summary: What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

Alternative Dispute Resolution is a system of resolving disputes that is designed to be quicker, cheaper, and more efficient than the traditional court system. ADR programs may involve mediation, arbitration, or negotiation and is used to resolve a wide range of disputes, such as business issues or family matters.

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