Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

“Any process that helps people put an end to their disputes without going to court. Two methods of ADR are arbitration and mediation. ADR is advantageous because it is less time-consuming and less-costly than court hearings. However, it often involves compromise which some parties are not willing to give.

History and Meaning of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to any process that helps people settle their disputes without having to go to court. The origins of ADR date back to ancient times when people used conciliators or mediators to settle their disputes. The modern ADR movement can be traced back to the 1970s when several studies showed that traditional litigation was time-consuming and costly.

Examples of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

  1. Mediation: A non-binding process in which parties to a dispute meet with a neutral third party, usually a mediator, to help them reach a mutually acceptable resolution.

  2. Arbitration: A binding process in which parties to a dispute present their evidence to a third-party arbitrator, who makes a decision that is legally binding on the parties.

  3. Negotiation: A process in which the parties to a dispute try to reach a settlement without the assistance of a third party.

Related Terms

  1. Collaborative law: A method of resolving disputes in which both parties hire attorneys who work together to help the parties reach a settlement.

  2. Ombudsman: A neutral third party appointed to investigate and resolve disputes between parties.

  3. Early Neutral Evaluation: A process in which parties to a dispute present their case to a neutral third party who then evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of each side’s position and assists the parties in reaching a settlement.