What is an alternative dispute resolution?

alternative dispute resolution

What is an alternative dispute resolution?

Any way of resolving conflicts without going to court is referred to as alternative dispute resolution (ADR). ADR describes all methods and procedures for resolving disputes that take place independently of any governing body. Mediation, arbitration, conciliation, negotiation, and transaction are the most well-known ADR techniques. More states are experimenting with ADR programs as growing court waitlists, rising litigation expenses, and time delays continue to burden litigants. Some of these initiatives are optional, while others are required.


The best method of resolving disputes is through negotiation. Although the two most popular ADR methods are arbitration and mediation, bargaining is nearly frequently attempted first to settle disputes. Through negotiation, a problem can be resolved by getting the parties together. The fundamental benefit of this method of dispute resolution is that it gives the parties themselves the ability to direct the course of action and the resolution. Compared to other forms of ADR, negotiation is far less formal and offers a lot more freedom.


A less formal alternative to a lawsuit is mediation. A mediator is a person with negotiation experience who brings two parties together to try and reach a settlement or agreement that both parties can accept. Mediation is not legally binding. Various different case types, from juvenile offenses to federal government agreements may be subject to mediation.


One of the most notable types of ADR is arbitration. In addition to sharing many parallels with conventional court procedures, including limited discovery and streamlined rules of evidence, arbitration is more formal than mediation (ex. hearsay is usually admissible in arbitration).

Most arbitration is driven by a pre-dispute contract entered into by the parties, in which they agree that if a dispute should arise, it will never get into the court system. By agreeing to arbitration, the parties, perhaps among other things, are waiving their fundamental, constitutional right to a trial by a jury of their peers. They can have no de novo (second trial) after they have gone to arbitration. Unless otherwise agreed, the decision is legally binding and non-appealable, except in extremely limited circumstances, such as in the case of fraud or collusion on the part of the arbitrator.

Skip to content