Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) encompasses a wide variety of practices and methods of tackling disagreements between people and/or entities. The essence of ADR is a commitment to trying to resolve conflicts out of court, without the oversight of a judge or jury.
Types of alternative dispute resolution
There are three main kinds of ADR being practiced in the legal field today:
There is also a lesser-known fourth type of ADR that is used primarily in minority indigenous communities. It’s called a talking circle or something similar. Family, friends, and/or leaders of the community get together with a person who is causing trouble, or people who cannot get along, to help them learn more peaceful, respectful ways of interacting with each other and the world at large.
What all these methods of dispute resolution have in common is that they offer a kinder, gentler option for litigants or potential litigants, that is, a less formal, more laidback approach that focuses on practical solutions rather than punishment or a win/lose mentality. Because the participants feel that their beliefs and feelings are acknowledged and listened to, and that they are being consulted on and helping to make their own decisions, the results tend to be more satisfying and longer lasting for everyone concerned.