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Glossary of Dispute Resolution Terms

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) describes the growing array of techniques used to resolve disputes without formal adjudication. More about ADR here.

Arbitration involves submission of a dispute to a neutral who renders a decision after hearing evidence. It is usually less rigidly structured and can be concluded more quickly than formal court proceedings. Private arbitration is usually binding. More about arbitration. More about arbitration here.

Conciliation is an informal process in which a third party tries to bring parties to agreement by lowering tensions, improving communications, and exploring potential solutions.

Court Annexed Arbitration, sometimes called “court ordered” arbitration, is usually mandatory and non-binding and allows for an appeal and trial. Find out about the Hawaii State Judiciary’s Court Annexed Arbitration Program.

In Early Neutral Evaluation, parties present the factual and legal bases of their case to a neutral (usually a recognized expert), who gives them a non-binding prediction of the outcome.

Facilitation is a collaborative process of managing a group discussion to help the group identify and solve problems, make decisions, or complete tasks. More about facilitation here.

Ho`oponopono (to set right), is a traditional Hawaiian dispute resolution process. It is often used by family members and is a spiritual process.

Med-Arb combines some of both mediation and arbitration. Generally, the neutral first mediates as many issues as possible, and then by permission of the parties, arbitrates those that remain.

In Mediation, neutrals use skills and techniques to assist parties in reaching a negotiated settlement. The mediator helps them communicate, negotiate and reach settlements. Mediators do not have the power to render decisions. More about mediation here.

Mini-Trials are generally used in large, high-stakes litigation. There is usually limited discovery after which attorneys present their best case before high-level executives and a neutral, followed by settlement negotiations, sometimes with the assistance of the neutral.

Public Policy Dialogues bring together together affected representatives from the public, businesses, public interest groups, and government to explore regulatory and other matters. These dialogues usually identify areas of agreement, narrow areas of disagreement, and identify topics for negotiation.

Restorative Justice focuses on victim and community involvement in the criminal justice system. Principles of restorative justice include helping to repair the harm caused by crime and to provide a more substantive role for victims and the community.

At Settlement Conferences, judges meet with attorneys and their clients to discuss resolution of a pending lawsuit. More about settlement conferences here.

Special Masters are appointed by judges to help streamline cases, decide factual matters, conduct studies, make recommendations, and help facilitate settlement discussions.

In Summary Jury Trials, lawyers present an abbreviated version of their arguments before a mock jury chosen at random from the jury pool. The jury deliberates for a short time and returns a recommended verdict. The lawyers are free to question the jury about the verdict and are encouraged to discuss settlement.