The courts will nearly always encourage parties to consider Alternative Methods of Dispute Resolution (or ADR) rather than issuing or continuing court proceedings as a way of resolving disputes.
It is important to take advice on what, if any, method of ADR is appropriate in relation to your dispute.
ADR can include informal ways of trying to settle disputes such as the parties meeting on a without prejudice basis, which means that what is said at the meeting cannot later be relied on in court. More formal ADR methods include:
- Mediation. This is a formal process where a third party mediator is appointed to assist the parties in reaching a settlement. A mediation usually involves the parties meeting at a neutral venue with a view to the Mediator attempting to facilitate a settlement through a number of private and (sometimes) joint sessions with the parties.
- Adjudication. This is a method of resolving construction industry disputes.
- Arbitration. Is based on an agreement by the parties to have a dispute settled in this way and results the Arbitrator making a decision that is binding on all parties. An arbitration clause is often included in partnership agreements.
- Expert determination. This can be useful where a technical point is in dispute and results in the parties being bound by the Expert’s decision. Provisions for a dispute to be dealt with by this method can be included in appropriate agreements or the parties to a dispute can agree that an expert is appointed by agreement between the parties to determine the dispute.
We have extensive experience and expertise in advising on and representing clients in all forms of ADR.