How does alternative dispute resolution work?

Alternative dispute resolution is a common legal strategy for both individuals and companies to use in order to resolve legal issues without resorting to court action.

Utilising an alternative dispute resolution tool can result in a binding legal agreement that can resolve a dispute.

There are six types of commonly used alternative dispute resolution tools, each one applicable in different situations. These six tools are:

  • Without prejudice conference
  • Mediation
  • Arbitration
  • Conciliation
  • Collaborative law
  • Adjudication

Each of the alternative dispute resolution tools are structured in a different way in order to ensure a positive outcome. For example, mediation will involve the parties to the dispute working with a third-party to come to a mutually beneficial agreement. A without prejudice conference is the same, except that there is not mediator

Arbitration on the other hand, requires parties to make legal submissions to an expert in a certain field (for instance, construction law) who will hand down a judgment which is binding on the parties.

Importantly, these six alternative dispute resolution tolls are not an exhaustive list, although they are among the most frequently used. Less common dispute resolution tools do exist and are tailored to unique disputes. Please contact us if you require further advice on other alternative dispute resolution tools.

It is also important to note there are conditions under which individuals will be required to undertake some form of alternative dispute resolution. This notably occurs in Family Law where disputing parties are often required to undertake the mediation process before the case progresses to Court.

If you are interested in pursuing alternative dispute resolution to solve your dispute, or want to know more about the conditions that accompany this process, make sure to consult with a legal expert in the relevant field. Business owners looking to undertake this process, for example, will need to consult with a litigation lawyer who can provide specialised advice on their situation.