Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) encompasses all those approaches to dispute resolution that allow individuals their "day in court" but save them some of the time, expense, and psychological trauma of going to trial. These are the primary forms of ADR in use in the United States today:
Arbitration: hearing held before a neutral third party, also referred to as a neutral, who renders a decision and issues an award.
Mediation: problem-solving process involving a neutral third party who facilitates the parties in reaching a resolution but who has no authority to render a decision.
Med-arb: a mediation conducted by a neutral third party followed by an arbitration using the same neutral third party if the mediation fails to resolve the conflict.
Summary jury trial: an abbreviated trial in which the parties present evidence in summary fashion to jury, thereby allowing the attorneys to receive an evaluation of their case.
Mini-trial: settlement process in which the parties present their case to a neutral third party who issues an advisory opinion, which the parties use to negotiate a settlement.
Although other varations of ADR exist, these are the most commonly used froms in the United States as of 2000 an will serve to illustrate the nature and scope of ADR.
Although ADR is relatively new to mainstream America, it has been used for years by various segments of our society who preferred to settle disputes without litigation. The Puritans and Quakers, for example, used mediation and arbitration, and resorted to the legal system only when absolutely necessary. In the nineteenth century, Mormons, as well as Chinese and Jewish immigrants, developed their own community dispute resolution mechanisms.
In the 1970s some, including Chief Justice Warren Burger and consumer advocate Ralph Nader, talked about a need for less expensive and less formal means of resolving disputes. ADR began to... [continues]
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