Alternative Dispute Resolution, ADR is a way of resolving issues without having to go to the courts. It is a form of negotiation that is included in a deal in such a way that makes it a legal means of resolving issues that might arise in cases where an agreement has failed or wants to be challenged by one or more of the signatories. ADR comes with several advantages over going to the courts.
Court Cases Might Take Longer To Resolve
Negotiations by nature and form are naturally shorter than court cases. Cases in court is something that parties involved may not be able to guess their duration and this could complicate their plans if not scuttle it altogether.
|Castration of Uranus | Credit: Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts|
ADR follows after an agreed upon agenda that makes it easy to measure the progress and the progression of the issue from one stage to another. Businesses tend to look at court cases as a last resort and one of the reasons behind this is the duration of the process.
They might have to go through the process of getting countless witnessing to testify in the court cases and everything has to go through to its logical conclusion. This could be detrimental to both parties because they might be under intense time constraints that would mean they will be running up a loss for each day the court case continues.
There are cases that may extend beyond the point where the judgment becomes irrelevant to the aggrieved party because they were hoping that it would have been resolved as quickly as possible. In order to forestall this, companies and individuals alike may include Alternative Dispute Resolution as the first port of call whenever any party to the agreement feels aggrieved and wants to seek redress.
ADR is a specialized form of business negotiation but the truth is that all negotiations are a form of ADR because it is all about finding a balance in a matter that meets with the need of those involved. It does not mean that everyone will get want they want as such but they can have a degree of assurance that they will get something satisfactory. Besides, some would view satisfaction as what they will lose if they had not used it but went to the courts.
ADR Is Generally Cheaper Than Court Cases
It is true that length or duration of litigation adds to the cost of settlement and this is one good reason why parties opt for the negotiation table. The cost of retaining negotiators for the duration of the negotiation is also cheaper. It is less expensive to run at an administrative level.
Litigation Is Usually A Winner Take All
The risk of losing in a court case might just be too high for the parties especially in a situation where it is clear that it is going to be a winner takes all. This is in total contrast to ADR through the negotiation table where each party can be assured of getting something out of it. This makes it a common sense choice for some because they do not want to contemplate the possibility of losing everything. In the area of ADR there might be no victim and the victimized scenario. This is one of the reasons people head to the courts. They feel they have a strong case in their favor and want to get their pound of flesh.
However, there are some cases where both parties just want to come to the table and iron some issues out. negotiation can only work if both parties are agreeable or want to sit down and to this extent there is a degree of cooperation. This could be different in court cases where one party might be appalled at the idea at sitting across the table with the next person since they feel they are the victim and the other person should not be giving an easy route to escape.
There are also cases in ADR where there is a clear victim but they have both decided that negotiation would still work best for them.
Litigation Does Not Allow For Settling A Matter Privately
There are instances where coming under public glare may cause more harm than good for one or all of the parties involved in the dispute. For instance, it might be a strategic business agreement between two companies to create a product that will give them a big advantage over the competition. However, it might be critical for the success of such an agreement if it is kept away from the public eye all through its development stage. Having others know about it will defeat the purpose of such agreement so you will have a situation where both parties are committed to the spirit of that agreement even when they have something to dispute over it. Heading to the courts in such a scenario may be unthinkable.
Another reason why some might go for private negotiation is that public dispute might spoil their brand. They feel that it would be damaging to them if the public gets to know what they are disputing. In such cases, using ADR would seem to be the best alternative. Companies and individual may want to settle a matter privately for different reasons and court cases may not be able to offer this as an option. People holding political offices may feel going to the courts may harm their brand but this might not be the case with going to the negotiation table.
There are numerous advantages associated with using Alternative Dispute Resolution. Businesses and individuals would do well to include it as an option for resolution when they want to do business with each other.