In the recent years, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has received widespread popularity both in the general public as well as in the legal profession. As the name itself suggests, it is the alternate solution for dispute resolution. Whenever a dispute arises people generally rush to the court for settlement. But due to the rising cost of litigation, lengthy procedures and undue delay it has become impractical to resort to traditional lawsuits. Civil Courts face backlogged dockets, resulting in delays of years. As a result, some Courts now encourage parties to resort to ADR before permitting the parties’ cases to be tried.
There are various methods used for ADR but Arbitration, Mediation & Conciliation are the widely used methods.
It is a procedure where a dispute is submitted, by agreement of the parties, to one or more arbitrators who make a binding decision on the dispute. This process can start only when there is a valid Arbitration Agreement between the parties prior to the emergence of the dispute. The Agreement must be in writing.
It is another form of ADR where a conciliator appointed by the parties to a dispute, meets them separately and also together in an attempt to resolve their differences. This process is different from arbitration in a way that it has no legal standing and the conciliator usually has no authority to seek evidence or call witnesses. The conciliator usually writes no decision and no award is given by him.
In conciliation, the resolution of the dispute by the parties themselves is the essential point.
It is another effective way of resolving dispute without going to the Court. It involves a mediator which is an independent third party and helps both parties to come to an agreement. Mediation is also not binding on the parties. The mediator’s role is not to reach a decision, but it is to help the parties reach their own decision.
ADR has several advantages over litigation:
- It is usually faster and less costly.
- It is more flexible.
- It is more informal.
- ADR is more likely to preserve goodwill which is necessary especially in situations where there is a continuing relationship.
ADR involves methods which act as an alternative to litigation. But these methods do not replace litigation but it is an addition to litigation. Even the strongest supporters of ADR agree that matters should be resolved through Courts but there are other methods also which can be referred to before litigation which offers many advantages over the adversarial route.
The Indian Lawyer