What Is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

Also known as External Dispute Resolution in some places around the globe, alternative dispute resolution or ADR entails a couple of strategies and procedures that seek to and enable differing sides to make a settlement with no or ahead of resorting to a lawsuit.

There are four major types of ADR: arbitration, negotiation, collaborative law, and mediation. Conciliation is sometimes added as a fifth major type of ADR services while other times it's considered as a form of mediation. 

Several other types of ADR include collaborative divorce, conflict resolution, dispute resolution, online dispute resolution, party-directed mediation, and restorative justice. Among all of these mentioned, the most commonly used type is mediation. 

At present, several courts require disagreeing factions to resort to mediation first before allowing their case to be tried. Many reasons added to the boost in popularity of ADRs, specifically mediation. 

Apart from the growing advocacy of many family court judges, professionals acknowledge that the increasing cases of standard courts, the conception of ADRs appearing much less costly when compared to a lawsuit, partiality for personal privacy as well as secrecy, and greater control on the choice of the arbitrator are the most important reasons for the expansion and popularity of alternative dispute resolution.

They've also listed down the following as benefits of ADR:

It is suitable for multi-party or multi-faceted disagreements. The procedure is quite flexible, as the parties involved determine and control the process. Costs are considerably lower than litigation. ADR is less complicated and devoid of too many formalities. 

Both parties choose the neutral third party to adjudicate and direct negotiations, yet the final decision still lies in both and not the mediator. Settlements are more likely to be reached in a shorter time frame.