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Dispute Resolution Procedures


Most cases can benefit in some way from one or more of the ADR processes. Each ADR process offers at least some of the following advantages over traditional litigation. You should consider using an ADR process if any of the characteristics listed below could improve the resolution of your dispute.


Produce greater satisfaction with results

After a lawsuit goes all the way through trial, even the winners may feel they have lost. The costs and time commitment on both sides may be enormous. Sometimes neither side is satisfied with the result. Relationships that may have existed between the parties are likely to have been severely strained. On the other hand, ADR may help you:

  • settle all or part of the dispute much sooner than a trial
  • reach a mutually acceptable solution that a court would not have the power to order
  • save time and money
  • preserve ongoing business and/or personal relationships
  • increase satisfaction and result in a lasting resolution

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Create more flexibility, control and participation

In formal litigation, the court is limited in the procedures it must follow and the solutions it might reach, and there are risks to submitting a case to a judge or jury. ADR processes are more flexible and permit parties to participate more fully and in a wider range of ways. They give parties more control by providing opportunities to:

  • customize the resolution process
  • expand the range of views and interests considered
  • reach a business-oriented or other creative solution that may not be available from the court
  • protect privacy
  • eliminate the risks of litigation

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Lead to a better understanding of the case

In traditional litigation, the parties may stop communicating directly. Often it is only after a significant amount of time and expense that the parties come to understand how their dispute can be presented in the legal system.

ADR can expedite the parties’ access to information and help them obtain an earlier and better understanding of the legal aspects of their case. It may:

  • provide an opportunity for parties to communicate their views directly and informally
  • assist parties to identify and focus on the core issues
  • help parties understand relevant laws and evidence
  • help parties understand the strengths and weaknesses of their positions
  • encourage parties to exchange key information directly

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Improve case management

Early in a lawsuit, attorneys sometimes find it difficult to devise a cost-effective case management plan and/or ways to limit the dispute. An ADR neutral (an impartial person) may help you:

  • streamline exchange of information and other pre-trial processes
  • narrow disputed issues by identifying areas of agreement
  • reach agreements that limit the factual and legal issues, thereby reducing court time

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Reduce communication barriers

Due to its adversarial nature, litigation can increase the level of tension, and often hostility, between parties. These escalated barriers to communication hamper chances for settlement. In contrast, an ADR neutral may:

  • improve the quality and tone of communication between lawyers and parties
  • decrease hostility between clients and between lawyers
  • reduce the risk that parties will give up on settlement efforts

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When ADR may not be useful

Although most cases can benefit in some way from ADR, some cases might be better handled through the formal litigation process. These include lawsuits in which:

  • a party wants to establish a new legal interpretation
  • there is a constitutional question or a new test of the law
  • a court can dispose of the case easily
  • a party wants vindication
  • a party wants the protections of formal litigation
  • a party prefers that a judge preside over all processes

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Go to: Which ADR processes does the court offer?