Alternative dispute resolution

Alternative dispute resolution

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) includes dispute resolution processes and techniques that fall outside of the government judicial process. Despite historic resistance to ADR by both parties and their advocates, ADR has gained widespread acceptance among both the general public and the legal profession in recent years. In fact, some courts now require some parties to resort to ADR of some type, usually mediation, before permitting the parties' cases to be tried. The rising popularity of ADR can be explained by the increasing caseload of traditional courts, the perception that ADR imposes fewer costs than litigation, a preference for confidentiality, and the desire of some parties to have greater control over the selection of the individual or individuals who will decide their dispute.Fact|date=May 2007

ADR is generally classified into at least four subtypes: negotiation, mediation, collaborative law, and arbitration. (Sometimes a fifth type, conciliation, is included as well, but for present purposes it can be regarded as a form of mediation. See conciliation for further details.) The salient features of each type are as follows:

*In negotiation, participation is voluntary and there is no third party who facilitates the resolution process or imposes a resolution. (NB --- a third party like a chaplain or organizational ombudsperson or social worker or a skilled friend may be coaching one or both of the parties behind the scene, a process called "Helping People Help Themselves" --see Helping People Help Themselves, in Negotiation Journal July 1990, p 239-248, which includes a section on helping someone draft a letter to someone who is perceived to have wronged them.)

*In mediation, there is a third party, a mediator, who facilitates the resolution process (and may even suggest a resolution, typically known as a "mediator's proposal"), but does "not" impose a resolution on the parties. In some countries (for example, the United Kingdom), ADR is synonymous with what is generally referred to as mediation in other countries.

*In collaborative law or collaborative divorce, each party has an attorney who facilitates the resolution process within specifically contracted terms. The parties reach agreement with support of the attorneys (who are trained in the process) and mutually-agreed experts. No one imposes a resolution on the parties.

*In arbitration, participation is typically voluntary, and there is a third party who, as a private judge, imposes a resolution. Arbitrations often occur because parties to contracts agree that any future dispute concerning the agreement will be resolved by arbitration. This is known as a 'Scott Avery Clause'. In recent years, the enforceability of arbitration clauses, particularly in the context of consumer agreements (e.g., credit card agreements), has drawn scrutiny from courts. Although parties may appeal arbitration outcomes to courts, such appeals face an exacting standard of review.

Beyond the basic types of alternative dispute resolutions there are other different forms of ADR:

*Case evaluation: a non-binding process in which parties present the facts and the issues to a neutral case evaluator who advises the parties on the strengths and weaknesses of their respective positions, and assesses how the dispute is likely to be decided by a jury or other adjudicator.

*Early neutral evaluation: a process that takes place soon after a case has been filed in court. The case is referred to an expert who is asked to provide a balanced and neutral evaluation of the dispute. The evaluation of the expert can assist the parties in assessing their case and may influence them towards a settlement.

*Family group conference: a meeting between members of a family and members of their extended related group. At this meeting the family becomes involved in making a plan to stop the abuse or other ill-treatment between its members.

*Neutral fact-finding: a process where a neutral third party, selected either by the disputing parties or by the court, investigates an issue and reports or testifies in court. The neutral fact-finding process is particularly useful for resolving complex scientific and factual disputes.
*Ombuds: third party selected by an institution – for example a university, hospital, corporation or government agency – to investigate complaints by employees, clients or constituents. The ombuds works within the institution to look into complaints independently and impartially. [ [] ]

"Alternative" dispute resolution is usually considered to be alternative to litigation. It also can be used as a colloquialism for allowing a dispute to drop or as an alternative to violence.

In recent years there has been more discussion about taking a systems approach in order to offer different kinds of options to people who are in conflict, and to foster APPROPRIATE dispute resolution. That is, some cases and some complaints in fact ought to go to formal grievance or to court or to the police or to a compliance officer or to a government IG. Other conflicts could be settled by the parties if they had enough support and coaching, and yet other cases need mediation or arbitration. Thus "alternative" dispute resolution simply means a method that is not the courts. "APPROPRIATE" dispute resolution considers all the possible responsible options for conflict resolution that are relevant for a given issue. [ [] ]

ADR - can increasingly be conducted online or by using technology. This branch of dispute resolution is known as online dispute resolution (ODR). It should be noted, however, that ODR services can be provided by government entities, and as such may form part of the litigation process. Moreover, they can be provided on a global scale, where no effective domestic remedies are available to disputing parties, as in the case of the UDRP and domain name disputes. In this respect, ODR might not satisfy the "alternative" element of ADR.

ADR in Pakistan

The relevant laws (or particular provisions) dealing with the ADR are summarised as under:

1. S.89-A of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (as amended in 2002) read with Order X Rule 1-A (deals with alternative dispute resolution methods).2. The Small Claims and Minor Offences Courts Ordinanace, 2002.3. Sections 102-106 of the Local Government Ordinance, 2001.4. Sections 10 and 12 of the Family Courts Act, 1964.5. Chapter XXII of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (summary trial provisions).6. The Arbitration Act, 1940.7. Articles 153-154 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 (Council of Common Interest)8. Article 156 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 (National Economic Council)9. Article 160 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 (National Finance Commission)10.Article 184 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 (Original Jurisdiction when federal or provincial governments are at dispute with one another)

ADR in India

Alternative dispute resolution in India is not new and it was in existence even under the previous Arbitration Act, 1940. The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 has been enacted to accommodate the harmonisation mandates of UNCITRAL Model. To streamline the Indian legal system the traditional civil law known as Code of Civil Procedure, (CPC) 1908 has also been amended and section 89 has been introduced. Section 89 (1) of CPC provides an option for the settlement of disputes outside the court. It provides that where it appears to the court that there exist elements, which may be acceptable to the parties, the court may formulate the terms of a possible settlement and refer the same for arbitration, conciliation, mediation or judicial settlement.

Due to extremely slow judicial process, there has been a big thrust on Alternate Dispute Resolution mechanisms in India. While Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 is a fairly standard western approach towards ADR, the Lok Adalat system constituted under National Legal Services Authority Act, 1987 is a uniquely Indian approach.

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996

Part I of this act formalizes the process of Arbitration and Part III formalizes the process of Conciliation. (Part II is about Enforcement of Foreign Awards under New York and Geneva Conventions.)


The process of Arbitration can start only if there exists a valid Arbitration Agreement between the parties prior to the emergence of the dispute. As per Section 7, such an agreement must be in writing. The contract regarding which the dispute exists, must either contain an arbitration clause or must refer to a separate document signed by the parties containing the arbitration agreement. The existence of an arbitration agreement can also be inferred by written correspondence such as letters, talex, or telegrams which provide a record of the agreement. An exchange of statement of claim and defence in which existence of an arbitration agreement is alleged by one party and not denied by other is also considered as valid written arbitration agreement.

Any party to the dispute can start the process of appointing arbitrator and if the other party does not cooperate, the party can approach the office of Chief Justice for appointement of an arbitrator. There are only two grounds upon which a party can challenge the appointment of an arbitrator - reasonable doubt in the immpartiality of the arbitrator and the lack of proper qualification of the arbitrator as required by the arbitration agreement. A sole arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators so appointed constitute the Arbitration Tribunal.

Except for some interim measures, there is very litte scope for judicial intervention in the arbitration process. The arbitration tribunal has jurisdiction over its own jurisdiction. Thus, if a party wants to challenge the jurisdiction of the arbitration tribunal, it can do so only before the tribunal itself. If the tribunal rejects the request, there is little the party can do accept to approach a court after the tribunal makes an award. Section 34 provides certain grounds upon which a party can appeal to the principal civil court of original jurisdiction for setting aside the award.

Once the period for filing an appeal for setting aside an award is over, or if such an appeal is rejected, the award is binding on the parties and is considered as a decree of the court.


Conciliation is a less formal form of arbitration. This process does not require an existence of any prior agreement. Any party can request the other party to appoint a conciliator. One conciliator is preferred but two or three are also allowed. In case of multiple conciliators, all must act jointly. If a party rejects an offer to conciliate, there can be no conciliation.

Parites may submit statements to the conciliator describing the general nature of the dispute and the points at issue. Each party sends a copy of the statement to the other. The conciliator may request further details, may ask to meet the parties, or communicate with the parties orally or in writing. Parties may even submit suggestions for the settlement of the dispute to the conciliator.

When it appears to the conciliator that elements of settlement exist, he may draw up the terms of settlement and send it to the parties for their acceptance. If both the parties sign the settlement document, it shall be final and binding on both.

Note that in USA, this process is similar to Mediation. However, in India, Mediation is different from Conciliation and is a completely informal type of ADR mechanism.

Lok Adalat

It roughly means, "Peoples court". India has had a long history of resolving disputes through the mediation of village elders. The system of Lok Adalats is an improvement on that and is based of Gandhian principles. This is a non-adversarial system, where by mock courts (called Lok Adalats) are held by the State Authority, District Authority, Supreme Court Legal Services Committee, High Court Legal Services Committee, or Taluk Legal Services Committee, periodically for exercising such jurisdiction as they thinks fit. These are usually presided by retired judge, social activists, or members of legal profession. It does not have jurisdiction on matters related to non-compoundable offences.

There is no court fee and no rigid procedural requirement (i.e. no need to follow process given by Civil Procedure Code or Evidence Act), which makes the process very fast. Parties can directly interact with the judge, which is not possible in regular courts.

Cases that are pending in regular courts can be transferred to a Lok Adalat if both the parties agree. A case can also be transferred to a Lok Adalat if one party applies to the court and the court sees some chance of settlement after giving an opportunity of being heard to the other party.

The focus in Lok Adalats is on compromise. When no compromise is reached, the matter goes back to the court. However, if a compromise is reached, an award is made and is binding on the parties. It is enforced as a decree of a civil court. An important aspect is that the award is final and cannot be appealed, not even under Article 226 because it is a judgement by consent.

All proceeding of a Lok Adalat are deemed to be Judicial proceedings and every Lok Adalat is deemed to be a Civil Court.

Permanent Lok Adalat for Public Utility Services

In order to get over the major drawback in the existing scheme of organisation of Lok Adalats under Chapter VI of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, in which if the parties do not arrive at any compromise or settlement, the unsettled case is either returned back to the Court of law or the parties are advised to seek remedy in a court of law, which causes unnecessary delay in dispensation of justice, Chapter VI A was introduced in the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, by Act No.37/2002 with effect from 11-06-2002 providing for a Permanent Lok Adalat to deal with pre-litigation, conciliation and settlement of disputes relating to Public Utility Services, as defined u/sec.22 A of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, at pre-litigation stage itself, which would result in reducing the work load of the regular courts to a great extent.
* [ Permanent Lok Adalat for Public Utility Services, Hyderabad, India]

ADR in the US Navy

SECNAVINST 5800.13A established the DON ADR Program Office with the following missions: Coordinate ADR policy and initiatives; Assist activities in securing or creating cost effective ADR techniques or local programs; Promote the use of ADR, and provide training in negotiation and ADR methods; Serve as legal counsel for in-house neutrals used on ADR matters; and, For matters that do not use in-house neutrals, the program assists DON attorneys and other representatives concerning issues in controversy that are amenable to using ADR. The ADR Office also serves as the point of contact for questions regarding the use of ADR. The Assistant General Counsel (ADR) serves as the “Dispute Resolution Specialist” for the DON, as required by the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 1996. Members of the office represent the DON’s interests on a variety of DoD and interagency working groups that promote the use of ADR within the Federal Government.

The program invites you to explore this website to learn about the many ways that ADR – and the ADR Program – can help you or your organization resolve issues in controversy at the earliest stage feasible, at the lowest organizational level, and with minimum expense.

Additional resources

Straus Institute For Dispute Resolution

Pepperdine University School of Law’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution provides professional training and academic programs in dispute resolution including a Certificate, Masters in Dispute Resolution (MDR) and Masters of Law in Dispute Resolution (LLM). Straus provides education to law and graduate students, as well as mid-career professionals in areas of mediation, negotiation, arbitration, international dispute resolution and peacemaking. [ [] ]

CUNY Dispute Resolution Consortium

The City University of New York Dispute Resolution Consortium (CUNY DRC) serves as an intellectual home to dispute-resolution faculty, staff and students at the City University of New York and to the diverse dispute-resolution community in New York City. At the United States' largest urban university system, the CUNY DRC has become a focal point for furthering academic and applied conflict resolution work in one of the world's most diverse cities. The CUNY DRC conducts research and innovative program development, has co-organized countless conferences, sponsored training programs, resolved a wide range of intractable conflicts, published research working papers and a newsletter. It also maintains an extensive database of those interested in dispute resolution in New York City, a website with resources for dispute resolvers in New York City and since 9/11, the CUNY DRC assumed a leadership role for dispute-resolvers in New York City by establishing an extensive electronic mailing list, sponsoring monthly breakfast meetings, conducting research on responses to catastrophes, and managing a public awareness initiative to further the work of dispute resolvers.

CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution

* The International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, known as the CPR Institute, is a New York City membership-based nonprofit organization that promotes excellence and innovation in public and private dispute resolution, serving as a primary multinational resource for avoidance, management, and resolution of business-related disputes.

The CPR Institute was founded in 1979 as the Center for Public Resources by a coalition of leading corporate general counsel dedicated to identifying and applying appropriate alternative solutions to business disputes, thereby mitigating the extraordinary costs of lengthy court trials.

CPR’s mission is “to spearhead innovation and promote excellence in public and private dispute resolution, and to serve as a primary multinational resource for avoidance, management and resolution of business-related and other disputes.” [ [] ] CPR is a nonprofit educational corporation existing under the New York state laws, and is tax exempt pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.

It is governed by a board of directors, and its priorities and policies are guided in large part by consultation with an executive advisory committee. Its funding derives in principal part from the annual contributions of its member organizations, and from its mission-related programming. The various operations and activities that fulfill the Institute’s mission are captured in the acronym of its name:

C: CPR convenes legal and business leadership to develop, and encourage theexchange of, best practices in avoiding, managing and resolving disputes.
P: CPR publishes its own work and that of other like-minded organizations,making resources available to a global community of problem-solvers.
R: CPR helps to resolve complex disputes among sophisticated parties, by devisingrules, protocols and best practices, and by providing disputants with resources andconsulting expertise in selecting appropriate methods and neutrals to assist in thedispute resolution process.

ee also

*Collaborative divorce
*Conflict resolution research
*Dispute resolution
* Family therapy
*National Academy of Arbitrators
*Online dispute resolution


External links

* [ USA Department of the Navy: Alternative Dispute Resolution]
* [ Read actual arbitration awards and find arbitrator's resumes at GVSU]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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