Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) is a collective term for a means of resolving disputes outside of court. There are various types of ADR and those most frequently used are mediation, adjudication, expert determination and early neutral evaluation.
ADR is an invaluable way to resolve disputes, even those which have resulted in court proceedings. At a time when court resources are under growing pressure to cope with demand, our clients regularly instruct us to seek to resolve their claim via mediation and other forms of ADR.
The Courts will now actively require parties to consider ADR as part of the Court process and before the case reaches trial. In practice we will always look for an opportunity to engage in appropriate ADR at an early point in the proceedings and once the parties have a clear understanding of the issues in the case and the common form of ADR used within court proceedings is mediation.
ADR can be a practical and cost effective way to resolve a dispute. It crucially gives the parties greater control over the process than they would have at a High Court Trial.
There is the added benefit of enabling claims to be resolved without the potential stigma and public attention of Court proceedings which can bring unwanted publicity. It is also a much less adversarial process than trial and has the scope to leave the parties with greater levels of goodwill after settlement.
ADR is a voluntary process although in certain circumstances there can be cost implications if one party to court proceedings refuses to engage in ADR. It is a confidential and without prejudice process which means that the matters discussed within the process should not be used subsequently at Court if the case does not settle during ADR.
Our Dispute Resolution team all regularly recommend and use mediation and other forms of ADR to successfully resolve claims before a trial, which in turn can result in significant savings to our clients.
Chris Longden, Director, is an accredited mediator via the London School of Mediation and acts as a mediator in civil and commercial claims.