What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) offers ways to settle disputes without litigation or a formal court hearing. Mediation and Arbitration are the primary forms of ADR. Mediation involves the engagement of neutrals to facilitate negotiations and settlement between disputing parties. Arbitration involves the neutral sitting in judgment, evaluating the parties’ positions and the case overall in order to issue an opinion.

When conducted properly, Mediation provides solutions to disputes that go far beyond the limited win or lose options that litigation mandates. When conducted perfectly, the application of Mediation process allows parties themselves to develop and “own” the resolution of their dispute. In Arbitration, which is most often a contracted dispute resolution between parties, a neutral party, serving as, in effect, a private judge, imposes a resolution after reviewing both sides’ positions.

Mediation is often required contractually as a prerequisite to suit, whether that occurs by Arbitration or court filing. An oft-overlooked fact of Arbitration is that the ability to review and overturn an Arbitration decision is severely limited. This is due to the fact that most, if not all of the grounds one expects for appeal of erroneous court decisions have been contracted away in exchange for speed and confidentiality.

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