Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
When negotiations have failed to resolve a dispute, litigation is not always the most suitable next stage. Often ADR, such as mediation or arbitration, can be a much more attractive option for all concerned. These processes have such a high success rate. Indeed, it is thought that around 80% of cases which are referred to mediation or arbitration settle.
Mediation involves the appointment by all parties of a neutral, the mediator, whose goal is to assist those involved in finding a resolution to the dispute. Unlike a judge or arbitrator, the mediator does not impose a decision upon the parties. If a deal is to be done, it is a deal of the parties' choosing.
The mediation process is also "without prejudice" (meaning that what is said and done cannot be referred to in Court at a later date) and is entirely confidential.
As well as offering significant costs savings when compared with traditional litigation through the Courts, mediation can also serve to preserve or help rebuild commercial relationships.
Arbitration involves an impartial outsider being asked to make a decision on a dispute. The arbitrator makes a firm decision on a case based on the evidence presented by the parties. Arbitration is voluntary, so both sides must agree to go to arbitration; they should also agree in advance that they will abide by the arbitrator's decision.