What is alternative dispute resolution?

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is the method by which legal conflicts and disputes are resolved privately rather than through litigation in court. ADR typically takes the form of either mediation or arbitration:

Arbitration is the referral of a dispute to one or more independent third person(s) who act as the judge and jury. The parties to the dispute can elect to make arbitration binding, which means the arbitrator's decision is final.

Mediation is an informal process in which an independent third person -- the mediator -- helps to negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution between disputing parties. Unlike arbitration or litigation, mediation does not require or impose a solution upon the parties.

In general, ADR is a process less formal than traditional court proceedings.


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