Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is the term given to the process of resolving legal disputes without having to resort to litigation. An attempt at dispute resolution by ADR is the normal first step once a legal dispute arises and is encouraged by the Civil Procedure Rules that govern civil litigation in England.
In principle, ADR is a faster and cheaper way to settle disputes than formal litigation. There is no need to wait for the court to find space in its busy timetable to hear the case, which can delay matters weeks or months, and many of the formalities of legal procedure need not apply.
With ADR, there is less concentration on the collection and organisation of formal evidence and careful sifting of legal points and more concentration on the commercial aspects of the dispute. The outcomes often owe more to negotiation skills than ‘pure law’.
However, technical legal skills are still important, because the ‘long stop’ if the mediation fails is to use formal legal proceedings.
There are two main methods of ADR
Arbitration involves the appointment of an independent and appropriately qualified person to evaluate the evidence put forward by each side in the dispute and to make a decision. It may be contractual (mandatory arbitration) or agreed as a settlement vehicle by the disputing parties (voluntary arbitration).
The arbitrator’s decision is normally legally binding and will be enforced by the court unless it is clearly incorrect or the arbitrator makes a decision which is beyond the scope of his authority. However, non-binding arbitration is also available and may be preferable, especially where the matter is complex. Mandatory arbitration is frequently used in construction contracts, where the arbitration clause will normally specify the qualifications of the arbitrator and the method by which they are appointed. Normally, in a construction dispute the arbitrator will be appointed by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators or a qualified arbitrator member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, which has a ‘fast-track’ service for disputes involving less than £100,000..
Arbitration demands the best possible case is made at the first attempt. Selachii are experienced in the coordination and presentation of the evidence needed to make sure your case is most advantageously put before the arbitrator.
Specialised arbitrators exist for certain types of disputes – intellectual property disputes can be arbitrated by the World Intellectual Property Office and domain name disputes by Nominet.
The other main form of ADR is mediation. In this case, a mediator is appointed who attempts to help the disputing parties reach an agreement by negotiation. The process is entirely confidential and, if successful, results in a mediation agreement. If the mediation fails, the dispute can be settled by litigation. Any information supplied in the mediation process cannot be used as evidence in court, nor can the mediator be required to give evidence.
The key to a successful mediation outcome is to have well-honed negotiation skills and commercial nous that Selachii bring to the table.
View our Case Study
Shared Driveway Case Study
When a shared driveway led to a dispute between neighbours over ownership and access, the potential for a bitter battle resulting in high legal costs was clear. Because the parties agreed early on to mediate the dispute, a solution was rapidly reached which gave each side the right of access they need, resolved the issue as regards title and avoided the need for a trial and lengthy argument over complex areas of law.
How Selachii Can Help
Selachii is a dynamic litigation and dispute resolution law firm based in Kensington, London. We put the best interests of our clients at the heart of everything we do. We work with both businesses and private individuals, giving them legal advice and support which is unique to them and their situation.
We don’t believe in simply handing out one-size-fits-all solutions to problems. We will focus on your specific circumstances before working out the best and most cost-effective way of helping you achieve your aims.