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
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
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
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
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
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
Dispute Resolution Procedures
- Why does the Court offer ADR?
- What is ADR?
- How can ADR help in my case?
- Which ADR processes does the court offer?
- Which is the most suitable ADR process for my case?
- How likely is each ADR process to deliver the specific benefit?
- What else do I need to know?
- How do I get my case into an ADR process?
- When can I get my case into an ADR process?
- When is the best time to use ADR?
- How much information should be exchanged first?
- Will ADR affect my case’s status on the trial track?
- How might ADR be better than the parties meeting on their own?
- Won’t I risk giving away my trial strategy in ADR?
- Where can I get more information?
- ADR Providers