Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is the name given to the methods used to settle disputes other than the court process.
It is common for parties to a dispute to seek an early and cost effective solution and we assist our clients in finding a better way of dealing with disputes which avoids the time, expense and stress of taking or defending a claim through the courts.
ADR is a key litigation tool and is a fundamental element of any advice provided to a client regarding their dispute.
The benefits of ADR:
- Cost Effective
- Assist with preserving ongoing business relationships
- Able to focus on commercial decisions rather than a legal argument
- Provides ability to control outcome of dispute
However, ADR is not just an alternative to litigation; it is also actively encouraged by the Civil Procedure Rules and the courts. If ADR is unreasonably refused (especially mediation) you may suffer costs consequences should the matter proceed to trial.
Negotiation - this is the most effective way of resolving disputes at any stage of a litigious matter. We are able to deal directly with the person or business that the dispute involves and reach a mutual agreement to stop the matter proceeding to court
Mediation - this is the most common process of ADR and can be undertaken at any time (before and after court proceedings are issued). It is a meeting between the parties in the presence of an appointed mediator who is there to assist and facilitate a resolution.
The parties remain in control of the decision to settle and the terms of the settlement. The process is quick, cost effective and can preserve business relationships and has proved to be frequently successful
Arbitration - in many contracts there is a particular clause or schedule which provides for arbitration to be commenced should a dispute arise rather than court proceedings. The parties are able to nominate their arbitrator in the event of a dispute and the advantage of this is that the parties are safe in the knowledge that their dispute is being handled by a specialist in the area concerned. This is usually a more attractive process in highly technical, complex or niche areas of disagreement, such as construction disputes and insurance disputes.
It is quicker to have a matter determined by an arbitrator than to wait for a trial to be listed. Arbitration decisions are also confidential which is usually preferential in commercial matters.
A decision by the arbitrator is called an award and is binding, save for the ability to appeal, and costs orders can be made by the arbitrators. An arbitration award can be enforced through the courts.
Adjudication - this relates to construction related disputes which enables a client to secure an enforceable decision within weeks.
Our team have practical experience of ADR and are able to assess the suitability of ADR to the nature of your dispute. If you have any questions regarding this or require advice please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team.
The best advice we can give to any client who has a dispute is to seek advice as early as possible. ADR is most effective if used as soon as possible once a dispute has arisen.