Alternatives to Court


Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is an alternative method used by the claimant other than going to court. Courts will try and encourage C’s to use this process wherever possible. ADR is used as an alternative to litigation for the following reasons:

  1. ADR is significantly cheaper than litigation
  2. ADR allows parties to keep all the discussions secret. This is particularly important with sensitive contracts made between businesses.
  3. ADR allows experts to be used to help resolve contractual problems instead of less qualified judges in specialist areas.
  4. ADR cases can held at times such as evenings and weekends when courts do not sit.


The four types of ADR are:


Negotiation: Resolve the problem by discussion directly with each party. An advantage of this is that this is private and also a quicker method of settling disputes.  A disadvantage of this may be that parties cannot come to an agreement.

Mediation: This is when a neutral mediator (a person trained to help the parties reach a decision) that helps the parties reach a compromise solution. Mediation is only suitable if there is some hope that parties can co-operate.

Conciliation: This is similar to mediation in that a 3rd party helps to resolve the dispute.  The main difference is the conciliator usually plays more of an active role, perhaps suggesting solutions.

Arbitration: Parties agree to let 3rd parties make a binding decision. Private arbitration is covered by the Arbitration act 1996 and any decision made by the arbitrator will be binding if both parties sign a written agreement. Arbitrators can be lawyers or industry professionals (e.g. Institute of Arbitrators)


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