Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) was developed as an alternative to the traditional dispute resolution mechanism, litigation, which has become costly, time–consuming and did not give the parties control over the outcome of their disputes and was generally cumbersome. ADR refers to a variety of techniques for resolving disputes without resorting to litigation in the courts. The concept behind the introduction of ADR methods was, inter alia, to reduce the delays and costs associated with litigation; to introduce relatively less formal methods of dispute resolution; to introduce consensual problem solving and empower individuals by enabling them to control the outcome of their dispute and develop dispute resolution mechanisms that would preserve personal and business relationships. ADR processes are thus intended to produce better outcomes all round.
Why resort to ADR or Arbitration.
There are many advantages to arbitration and ADR. They are used to settle Labour Disputes, Neighbour Problems and Family Matters. The advantages may be summarised as follows:
- Speed and Economy: arbitration and ADR procedures can be arranged within a short time and without the lengthy delays of court litigation
- Expertise: Submitting disputes to an expert in the field as arbitrator, conciliator or mediator saves time and money.
- Confidentiality: Arbitration and ADR proceedings are confidential and conducted in private, without the publicity that often surrounds court litigation.
- Procedural Flexibility: The parties are free to arrange the procedure and the time and venue of the hearing in accordance to what is mutually convenient to them.
- Informality and Amiability: Because of the informality of and the influence of the parties on the procedure, arbitration and ADR are beneficial for the relationship of the parties after the dispute is resolved, as they produce much less antagonism than court litigation. In ADR the parties are moreover actively involved in finding a solution to the dispute
- Finality: Most decisions in Arbitrations are without appeal; hence, the dispute is finally settled by the arbitrator’s award. Although this finality does not exist in ADR as ADR leads to recommended solutions instead of final and binding decisions, these solutions are generally accepted by the parties since they were actively involved in their achievement.
Before entering into arbitration or litigation, consider mediation - a natural first step in the dispute resolution process. Mediation is an informal process in which a trained and impartial mediator facilitates negotiations between disputing parties, helping them to find their own mutually acceptable resolution. What distinguishes mediation from other forms of dispute resolution - principally, arbitration and litigation - is that the mediator does not impose the solution, but rather, helps make it possible for you and the other party to form and accept a solution yourselves.
The mediator's role is to guide you and the other party toward your own solution by helping you to define the issues clearly and understand each other's position. Unlike an arbitrator or a judge, the mediator has no authority to decide the settlement or even compel you to settle. The mediator's "key to success" is to focus everyone involved on the real issues of settling - or the consequences of not settling. While the mediator may referee the negotiations - defining the terms and rules of where, when, and how negotiations will occur - he or she never determines the outcome of the settlement itself.
Generally, the mediation process improves communications, helps to narrow the issues involved, clears up misunderstandings, diffuses emotion, and defines areas of agreement so that future dispute resolution efforts, especially in arbitration, can become more efficient, effective, and more likely to produce settlement down the road.
When it seems that other efforts to resolve your dispute are not working, it is then time to decide whether you will file a claim to arbitrate. Even if you choose, or are required to use, arbitration rather than litigation in a court of law as a means of resolving your dispute, you should consider hiring a Mediator/Arbitrator from Emahlahleni Dispute Resolution Centre who will provide valuable instruction and advice.
Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), it is a legal technique for the resolution of disputes outside the courts, wherein the parties to a dispute refer it to one or more persons, the "arbitrator/s by whose decision (the "award") they agree to be bound. It is a settlement technique in which a third party reviews the case and imposes a decision that is legally binding for both sides.