Going to court to resolve a dispute and battling with the system for several years is the last thing we all want. While getting into litigation or a legal battle is unpleasant and takes up too much time, it is unavoidable. There might be times in life where you cannot avoid a disagreement. That’s when you have to decide if you want to take the matter to court or try an alternative dispute redressal method.
Over the years, out of court settlements are growing popular. And the major reason for that is the way it saves ample time, and the numerous parties involved being limited. When it comes to out of court settlements, arbitration is the most popular approach. However, there are many more alternatives to this too. And in this article, we take a close look at the different dispute redressal systems in place, their pros and cons, and how to pick one!
Mediation is an interactive, structured, and impartial approach to dispute resolution. It encourages the participants to participate in the process actively and resolve conflicts. The disputing parties do this in the presence of a mediator. Mediation has several stages. Both parties then record their statements, and then there is a joint discussion, and they follow it up with a private discussion.
The mediator then calls for a joint negotiation, following which there is a final session where the disputing parties come to a resolution. This is where mediation differs from arbitration. Unlike arbitration, where the arbitrator passes the final judgment, the end of a good mediation is when both parties agree mutually. They do not have to abide by a decision from a third-party!
This is one of the least formal dispute resolution approaches. As the name suggests, it involves the facilitation of discussion by a neutral third-party. Facilitation operates with the assumption that both the disputing parties want to resolve the dispute and reach a mutually favorable agreement. And the negotiation for this is done by using emails, written letters, and telephone contracts.
Did you know that judges some times use facilitation to resolve a dispute rather than taking it to trial? Well, they do so when it feels like both the parties would benefit by talking out their issues rather than letting the court decide on their behalf!
In this method the disputing parties resolve issues using a neutral person. This is usually a lawyer or an expert in the area of dispute and offers a non-binding reasoned evaluation, based solely on the merit of the case.
An early neutral evaluation is a process that the disputing parties can request for as soon as they take up the court’s case. The neutral party will evaluate the case and offer an analysis of the likely outcome of the trial. This will help the disputing parties conclude and see if resolving the dispute outside the court makes sense.
Community Dispute Resolution Program
The Community Dispute Resolution Program or CDR is a dispute redressal approach where the community members resolve the disagreements and disputes among parties. The CDR is a not for profit entity and has citizens from the same community working towards finding amicable solutions to the disputing parties’ problems. They offer their services irrespective of the disputing parties’ ability to pay for the services and ensure a neutral and unbiased resolution is offered.
The structural functioning might vary from one community to another, but their approach, operations, and goals will be the same. CDR ensures that the small disputes in a locality do not snowball into a legal battle. This saves time and money for both the disputing parties and the nation’s legal system!
These are some of the popular alternative dispute redressal methods that you can consider if you feel that arbitration isn’t your cup of tea. However, remember that, just like arbitration and court proceedings, each of these methods has its pros and cons too. So, make sure to evaluate them all before you make a decision on how you would like to address the dispute. You could also take suggestions from your peer groups, your legal advisor, and community members to pick the right ADR method for you!