Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is any procedure voluntarily used to resolve controversy.
The main types of alternative dispute resolution used in consumer disputes are ombudsmen, conciliation, mediation and arbitration and are usually provided by trade associations. Other types of ADR used in commercial disputes include adjudication, early neutral evaluation and expert determination.
Parties who decide to use alternative dispute resolution to settle their dispute can select a method and a provider of their own choosing, depending on the source of the dispute. While ADR is not usually compulsory, clauses providing for ADR in contracts are binding as long as they are specific. The Civil Procedure Rules provide for the judiciary to encourage the use of ADR in appropriate cases. However the extra-judicial procedures are not themselves governed by statute except for a number of Ombudsman Schemes and arbitration schemes which have been established by Act of Parliament.
It is not obligatory to seek legal advice when using alternative dispute resolution, but it is advisable. It is also advisable to ensure that any ADR provider used has accreditation and carries indemnity insurance. Any particular terms you require, such as confidentiality clauses, should be agreed between the parties and the ADR provider at the outset before undertaking ADR.
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