"The obligation of the legal profession is, or has long been thought to be, to serve as healers of human conflicts. To fulfill that traditional obligation means there should be mechanisms that can produce an acceptable result in the shortest possible time, with the minimum of stress to the participants. That is what justice is all about."
Chief Justice Warren Burger
Arkansas Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission
People today live with an increasing amount of complexity and change that causes conflict in their lives. Most people find conflict destructive. Few people are equipped to manage conflict effectively. When handled constructively, conflict can be a powerful force for creating productive solutions between individuals or organisations.
There is consensus in the business community about litigation. "Too much, too time consuming and too expensive."
While litigation may be an important and valuable process, many disputes can be resolved by less adversarial means.
Even when cases are settled out of court, which happens over 90% of the time, settlement usually occurs only as the court room date approaches and after most of the costs have been incurred. And all too often, the settlement is based on perceived monetary value without regard for parties' real interests or mutually-advantageous personal or business solutions.
In a climate of increased litigation and escalating costs the courts are starting to assume greater responsibility for encouraging early settlement of disputes.
There is a range of binding and non-binding dispute resolution activities that fall within the generic description of ADR. The techniques include:
If you would like more information about Alternative Dispute Resolution the following organisations will be able to help you. LEADR, ACDC and the Law Society of NSW. Ask for their Mediation Information Kit.
- Mediation at varying levels of formality and under the guidance of a range of individuals, private practitioners (whether they be legal practitioners or not) and organisations, such Community Justice Centres, ACDC, members of the Law Society and the Supreme Court mediation panel;
- Early neutral evaluation;
- Arbitration, including Philadelphia type arbitrations; and
- Case management
Or if you would like to know more about insurance protection in this area then read on to find out how our Commercial Dispute Resolution Insurance can help you.