Most civil disputes are resolved without filing a lawsuit. However, some require a dispute resolution process that is less formal, less stressful, faster, and cheaper than litigation. There are several different types of alternative dispute resolutions, including mediation, arbitration, settlement conferences and neutral evaluation.
Legal disputes are expensive to resolve in terms of both money and time. Litigation is often seen as a last resort when efforts to settle a dispute through negotiations fail and an impasse is reached. Litigation is complex and can take months if not years to complete, particularly if there are extensive discovery issues and a trial is involved.
ADRs provide a neutral setting and a forum for parties to work toward voluntary agreements. The outcomes of ADR processes are generally legally binding and enforceable by public courts, unlike court decisions or awards that may be overturned on appeal.
ADR is particularly advantageous when it comes to resolving disputes with other businesses, family members and employees. The collaborative nature of these processes promotes cooperation and a more creative solution that is more likely to satisfy all parties involved. ADR can also reduce vitriol, which is a common feature of many disputes in the workplace and among families and couples. Mediation is the most popular ADR, in which a professional mediator lowers tensions, improves communications, interprets issues, encourages the parties to explore solutions and assists them in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement. In some cases, a mediation-arbitration hybrid may be the best approach. alternative dispute resolutions