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Dispute Resolution Procedures


Each ADR process meets different needs and circumstances. When selecting an ADR process, you should carefully review your own case or situation to identify the goal you hope to achieve through ADR. You may then select the ADR process that is best for your particular case.

Whether a particular ADR process will provide a specific benefit depends not only on the type of ADR process used, but on many other factors including: the style of the neutral; the type of case; the stage of legal proceedings already reached; the parties’ and attorneys’ attitudes and personalities; the degree of preparation; and the participants’ experience with the particular ADR process.

While the court is unable to make any guarantees, this chart summarizes the court’s general observations about ADR’s major benefits and the extent to which the three major ADR processes are likely to provide them. These are generalizations that the court believes are accurate in many, but not all cases.

The Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution is available to provide you with information to help you select an ADR process to meet your needs.

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General Factors to Consider in Selecting an ADR Method:

Mediation may be best when:

  • there is a continuing relationship between the parties
  • either party can benefit from hearing directly from the other party
  • there are multiple parties that may benefit from being included in discussions about the case outside of a court setting
  • parties would benefit from discussions about the reality of their positions
  • resolving the case would be more likely if a wider range of alternatives were available, beyond those a court has the power to provide
  • there is a reasonalbe expectation that the dispute can be resolved
  • parties (one or more) would like to avoid the publicity that may accompany a court case
  • there is a risk of unfavorable legal precedent
  • there are problems with exchanging information
  • parties seek a quick resolution of their case
  • a resolution of the factual issue(s) will assist in settlement

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Arbitration may be best when (in addition to the above):

  • parties want a binding decision (or a non-binding decision with the possibility of penalties if the award is appealed)
  • one party can benefit from hearing directly from the other party

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Settlement conference may be best when:

  • the judge’s knowledge of the case will be useful
  • problems exist with exchanging information and it is important to keep the pressure of an upcoming trial date
  • a referral to ADR might delay resolution of the case
  • a referral to a different ADR process might unduly increase costs to the parties

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Go to: How likely is each ADR process to deliver the specific benefit?