The Increasing Use of ADR

We regularly use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to resolve disputes for clients.

ADR is becoming increasingly widespread in the UK as a more cost-effective way of resolving disputes – with both time and money being saved if the dispute resolution process results in a mutually acceptable outcome without the need to go to court. In fact, the courts generally expect the parties involved in the dispute to have genuinely tried to resolve their dispute through ADR before coming to court.

So What is ADR?

There are four types of Alternative Dispute Resolution methods, excluding conciliation, namely:

  1. Direct negotiations usually on a ‘Without Prejudice’ basis.

    Negotiation is a dialogue between the two or more parties involved in the dispute to reach a desired outcome. Negotiation can take place between the parties’ solicitors or directly between the parties and includes written or oral negotiations.

  2. Mediation

    We use mediation to resolve many different types of disputes and the courts often expect parties to have tried to resolve their dispute at a mediation meeting before coming before a judge in court proceedings.

  3. Neutral evaluation

    Similarly, neutral evaluation (by a neutral third party) has become more popular over recent years and has been encouraged by the courts in dispute resolution.

  4. Arbitration

    The arbitration process is more formal than mediation and involves referring the dispute to a third party known as an arbitrator who makes a decision to resolve the dispute.

    The arbitrator is, of course, impartial and is chosen either by the parties to a dispute or by an independent third party.

    Many contracts contain provisions requiring the disputing parties to refer their dispute to arbitration.

Why You Need to Consider ADR

If you are involved in a business dispute or a personal dispute that could lead to court proceedings, the Civil Procedure Rules require the parties to engage in ADR as a general rule. If a party refuses to engage in ADR at the request of the other party, the court may impose costs sanctions on the party that refuses to engage in ADR.

If a party does refuse an invitation to engage in ADR, it is important that he/she explains to the other side and, sometimes to the court as well, the reasons for the refusal, rather than remaining silent.

All types of ADR are confidential so provide the parties with privacy, something they usually don’t receive if they litigate their dispute in court and this could be very important for sensitive matters.

We see many cases where disagreements between parties escalate into a serious adversarial conflict, with little apparent prospect of conflict resolution between the disputants. Our initial function when instructed is to fully understand the nature of the conflict so that we can recommend the  most appropriate dispute resolution technique for settling the dispute.

We regularly use ADR to resolve disputes for clients who are often surprised at how seemingly intractable disputes can be resolved to reach an agreement quickly and more cheaply using appropriate methods of alternative dispute resolution.

However, if using ADR is not possible we can still assist with any business disputes.

Please contact us for further information on ADR and how it can help you resolve your dispute.