If you’re in the middle of a dispute and tempted to turn to litigation, remember that a few alternative methods are available to you. The term “alternative dispute resolutions” encompasses a wide range of conflict settlement processes and techniques that occur outside the courtroom, such as early neutral evaluation, negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.
Litigation can be a critical course of action in certain cases, such as when you want to pursue a massive monetary award or seek justice for an injury caused by someone else’s negligence. But a litigious path can also be costly and time-consuming, even in the best-case scenarios.
Alternative dispute resolutions offer compelling alternatives to the legal path the next time you find yourself embroiled in a dispute that seems impossible to resolve on your own. Whether you’re seeking an employment matter settled by arbitration or an insurance claim resolved by mediation, these options are much less formal and often less expensive than a full-blown trial.
Generally, ADR involves one neutral third party helping disputing parties reach an agreement. Mediators can be largely facilitative, engaging in shuttle diplomacy and keeping their own views hidden. Or, they can be more evaluative, offering their own knowledge and opinions to help guide disputants toward an agreement. And the most skilled mediators can blend these two techniques according to the case, writes Sanders in an article for Negotiation Briefings. Arbitration is a more traditional method of settling disputes, where an independent arbitrator hears each side’s arguments and evidence, then renders a decision. The most common types of arbitration include single-member, three-member, and tripartite. alternative dispute resolutions