Discourage litigation; persuade your neighbours to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often the loser in fees, expenses and cost of time.” – Abraham Lincoln

Some may refer to it as private dispute resolution; many others have accepted the renowned term – alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Whichever is the preferred umbrella terminology, there is no denying that over the last decade historic trends in litigation have given way to a new era of dispute resolution. ADR has become more relevant and is now seen as a realistic means of settling disputes in a wide range of industry sectors.

Simply defined, ADR is regarded as a set of procedures designed to resolve disputes outside of the courtroom. These methods involve the assistance of a third party neutral.

In recent years, the rising cost of litigation and courtroom backlogs have led to a growth in the use of primary ADR disciplines, generally within the business community. These include international arbitration, mediation and adjudication. What has led to this surge is considered to be relative to the mounting benefits ADR has to offer, principally due to its cost effective and efficient nature.

There is a widely held concept that businesses are keen to move away from the adversarial landscape of conventional litigation in an effort to maintain business reputation in a highly competitive global economy. This can be seen as another reason for the growing popularity of non-court based procedures.

Oct-Dec 2014 issue

Chartered Institute of Arbitrators