Taking the Alternative Route to Dispute Resolution

Not many people enjoy conflict. When we face a difficult time in our lives, we all want to find the quickest, least stressful and most sensible solution to our problem. When the problem is a civil dispute, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) can often be the most effective route to take.

Alternative Dispute Resolution is a faster, flexible, more practical and cost-effective alternative to dragging your dispute through the courts. With the guidance of a neutral third party, both sides are assisted to present and settle their differences in a structured but less formal environment.

Types of Alternative Dispute Resolution

Your individual circumstances will determine which dispute resolution method will be the best choice for you. Types of ADR, include:


Probably the most common form of Alternative Dispute Resolution, mediation essentially involves bringing the parties together to discuss the matter in a neutral setting. The mediator is an independent person, often a legal professional, who is trained to objectively listen to both sides of the argument, help each party clarify their position and assist them in finding common ground. Mediation is often used by couples who are in the process of getting a divorce. Whilst there’s no obligation to enter into meditation or to reach a settlement as a result of the process, it’s often a highly effective means of bringing about a resolution.


Conciliation is similar to mediation in that it brings parties together to reach an agreement with the help of an impartial third party. In contrast to mediation, conciliation also allows the conciliator to give their opinion as to the merits of each side’s arguments and suggest options which may bring about a mutually agreeable settlement (although the parties are not obliged to accept those suggestions). As with mediation, the conciliation process is voluntary, and the parties can withdraw from the process at any stage.


A more formal method of achieving a resolution, adjudication is often used to settle disputes in the construction industry. The adjudicator is an impartial, trained professional appointed to assess the arguments presented by both sides and often has specific expertise in the subject area on which the dispute is based. Commonly, parties will accept the adjudicator’s decision at which point it becomes legally binding. Although, if one or both parties refuse to accept the ruling, they have the option to pursue further arbitration or litigation.


Like adjudication, arbitration is another more formal type of Alternative Dispute Resolution, but the independent arbitrator’s final decision here is legally binding. Often used in employment disputes such as unfair dismissal, arbitration has more parallels with the court process than other types of ADR but is nevertheless still more flexible, fast and cost-effective than using the court system.

Resolving disputes with ADR

Alternative resolutions might not be appropriate in all cases, particularly those that are highly contentious, but with such highly effective options available, it’s always worth considering this route before committing to litigation. Not only can ADR save you time, money and sleepless nights but it allows you keep commercially or personally sensitive information behind closed doors, rather than on the public record.

At Rowberry Morris Solicitors, we’re committed to helping our clients avoid unnecessary costs and lengthy legal proceedings. Our expert mediation and resolution specialists are on hand to help you a reach swift, fair settlement that resolves your issue effectively and leaves you free to get on with your life.

To learn more about our ADR and litigation services, you can read our Litigation and Dispute Guide. Or if you’d like to speak to our qualified dispute resolution specialists, get in touch.