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What is ADR?

ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) is a number of techniques designed to resolve disputes without the high cost and inflexibility traditionally associated with litigation. There are a number of different ADR techniques.  Those in which we provide include the following:-


This is where an independent person assists in a confidential structured framework to get disputing parties to reach a negotiated position. The process is flexible with the main objective of getting the parties to the dispute to control the outcome and reach their own settlement.


This is a process, usually required under contract whereby a third party will give an opinion based on mainly written evidence from the parties to a dispute. The decision of the adjudicator is binding on the parties, unless appealed to the Courts.


This is rather like mediation, but where the third party neutral takes a more active role in suggesting terms of settlement. These terms are only binding on the parties if put into a settlement agreement and signed by both parties.

Early neutral evaluation

This is a form of advocacy where a neutral party will undertake a preliminary assessment of the facts relating to a dispute. It is intended that this will help parties avoid unnecessary litigation and may form the basis for further negotiation/mediation.

Arb/Med & Adj/Med

Whilst these are essentially mediations, they also contain a contractual provision for adjudication or arbitration if the dispute does not settle. The mediator may then be given the power to convert to being an adjudicator or arbitrator to make a legally binding decision.

Facilitated Dispute Resolution

This is similar to mediation but perhaps a little less structured and held in more informal surroundings. In addition, it could be used as part of the role of Partnering Adviser on a partnering contract. See Partnering Adviser services.


There are of course others but, by far the most common of these is Mediation.

Dispute resolution can broadly be defined into 3 main categories:-

  • Consensual, where the parties to the dispute agree a solution, often with assistance from an independent party
  • Recommended, where a third party investigates the dispute and recommends a solution which the parties do not have to accept
  • Imposed, where a third party investigates the dispute makes a binding decision on the parties

This is illustrated in the ‘Dispute Resolution Continuum’ set out below:-

Dispute Resolution Continuum diagram