Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) includes methods of processes and techniques that are used to resolve disputes or disagreements outside the jurisdiction of the law. As explained by Paul Latimer (p 51 of the Australian Business Law CCH Handbook 2006) The Alternative Dispute Resolution Association of Australia has defined ADR as meaning ¡§dispute resolution by processes: a)which encourage disputants to reach their own solution and b)in which the primary role of the third party neutral is to facilitate the disputants to do so.¡¨ The main purpose for an alternative dispute resolution is to provide various methods of dispute management to litigation that are in place today . The main processes available are mediation, conciliation (though it can be used interchangeably with mediation as it¡¦s considered a form of mediation), independent expert appraisal or evaluation, arbitration (though technically is not included as ADR and will be discussed further under ¡¥Arbitration¡¦) and mini trials . There are many advantages and disadvantages for these methods. Most commonly referred to advantages are: XMajority of cases are resolved at a significantly lower cost than litigation. XMajority of cases are resolved at a significantly lower percentage of time involved in litigation. XLess formal and quicker than court proceedings.
XMany cases are dealt with in privacy, and public or media interest is strictly prohibited. Disadvantages include:
XIncompetence or bias on the part of the intermediary could lead to wrong settlement of negotiations (mediation) XWrong decisions can be made or a denial of natural justice (arbitration) XAlso, common occurrences in both mediation and arbitration is the incorrect application of legal principles (Partly due to reason of technical experts who don¡¦t have the experience or independence that lawyers have) In addition, it can be said from opinion that lawyers could act as better arbitrators than technical experts due to that very reason of experience and independence. Specific disadvantages for each particular method will be discussed in further detail under its relevant heading.
Processes in ADR
Most parties resolve disputes through direct negotiation and is a commonly used strategy for informally settling these disputes. On a further note, majority of commercial disputes are resolved by negotiation between the parties. If there is a failure in resolving disputes through direct negotiation, the parties can settle the issue by seeking assistance from an independent third party facilitator. Two main techniques through the use of a facilitator are mediation and conciliation.
Mediation and Conciliation
Mediation is a structured negotiation process with a neutral, independent third party to help the parties reach their own solution by agreement . Conciliation has similar attributes to mediation; however, the facilitator can bring to the negotiations expert experience in the area of the subject of dispute . As outlined in Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediation#Mediation_and_conciliation): One significant difference between conciliation and mediation lies in the fact that conciliators possess expert knowledge of the domain in which they conciliate. The conciliator can make suggestions for settlement terms and can give advice on the subject-matter The important analysis here for both mediation and conciliation is that the resulting agreement is determined by the parties themselves rather than the facilitator imposing the judgement. They cannot enforce such a judgement; this is where the comparison with arbitration lies.
Also, in Terry & Guigni, Business, Society and the Law (2003), the authors do not discuss the critical disadvantages of the system but rather its facts. Since one particular...