Alternative Dispute Resolution

When facing a legal dispute, do you really have to go to court?

Believe it or not, courts actually prefer when parties to a conflict or dispute use alternative methods to the traditional route of pursuing legal claims through the court system. The argument is for judicial economy, which essentially holds the perspective of reducing the burden on an already overly consumed court system. With less cases coming through the court, and instead being resolved in other manners, it would relieve the court in both time and resources – which it so scarcely has to begin with.

But more importantly, alternative dispute resolution can be employed for the greater benefit of the parties themselves. In most cases, parties that choose to go the route of mediation or arbitration facilitated by professional attorneys and counselors can end up saving about half of the financial investment involved in hiring legal counsel to represent them in court. It also could save the clients a great deal of time. The formalistic process of litigation can be very time consuming and could last years before resolving parties’ disputes. If a dispute can be effectively handled outside of the courts, it should be highly considered.

So what is alternative dispute resolution, also known as ADR? ADR refers to methods such as mediation and arbitration employed to resolve disputes between parties, instead of pursuing litigation (the process of taking legal action through the court system). Intelligent and creative attorneys who practice mediation and arbitration can be instrumental in resolving clients’ disputes with other parties without having to step a foot in the courtroom. From individual disputes between families or businesses to international corporate matters, alternative dispute resolutions can save parties a great deal of headache, hostility, time and money.

States, companies, and organizations across the world are employing alternative methods to dispute resolution more and more. From Europe and North America to Asia and Africa, experts have advocated for ADR to help build cooperation, trust, and meaningful connections between parties. Justice Adejumo of Nigeria recently expressed his fondness of the establishment of an ADR center in his country. “It provides a platform for the robust-in-thought and a clearing-house for multi-faceted industrial and workplace disputes. There is no doubt that the centre will be able to transform conflicts into cooperation, mistrust into trust, and alienation into meaningful human connectedness – thereby promoting Industrial and peace and sustainable development in Nigeria”. Employing ADR internationally, and here at home, is key.

Jalal Moughania, Esq.