When you have a dispute, whether with an individual or an organisation, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) may well be worth considering. ADR is a less formal way of trying to resolve disputes than litigation, it takes less time and is usually far more cost effective. Accordingly, ADR is something that we will always be alive to, discuss with our clients and implement where that is likely to be in our clients’ best interests.
What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?
What they say
"A combination of pragmatism, collaboration and a deep understanding of what in-house lawyers and businesses actually need from their lawyers."
Legal 500 UK 2022
ADR comes in a number of forms, the most well known of which is probably mediation but there are a number of other forms, including negotiation, expert determination and arbitration, including informal arbitration in the context of unfair dismissal claims. The most common form of ADR is mediation where the parties will come together and present their case to an independent trained mediator who will then work with the parties to try to encourage a settlement. If an agreement is reached and signed it is binding on the parties and can be enforced like any contract or Court judgment.
There is no obligation on either party to settle in a mediation and the mediator cannot impose his or her own decision. Even if a mediation is unsuccessful, this is unlikely to present significant difficulties to either party because mediations are conducted on a confidential basis and cannot be discussed with a judge of any description in the matter in question until the matter has been finally determined.
Both parties have to agree to ADR, although in some cases the Court may insist that the parties consider ADR and can even impose cost penalties if they do not. ADR can take place at any time before or during formal Court proceedings and so it should not be looked upon as being entirely separate from a litigation process. Rather, ADR can compliment an ongoing litigation process. If ADR fails then both parties can still resort to or carry on with Court proceedings.
Our approach to Alternative Dispute Resolution
We are very supportive of ADR in our firm and dispute resolution practices. We have significant expertise in ADR and indeed several of our practitioners are trained in mediation with some of the leading organisations dedicated to mediation, including the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR).