A substantial part of the population is unable or afraid to avail litigation ascribing to the incessant delay and uncertain legal expenses. There are times when people who face legal predicaments opt to suffer rather than take a legal course to solve their issues. On this account of pending litigation and fear of getting trapped in a prolonged legal battle, alternative processes to resolve disputes come into the picture.
Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR is a method of resolving an issue without getting involved in civil litigation. It consists of diverse propositions to intervene in and resolve disputes by employing a neutral individual who assists disputing parties in resolving their discords. ADR procedures consist of negotiation, conciliation, mediation, arbitration and an assortment of hybrid procedures.
ADR techniques are extra-judicial in character. ADR increases the parties' opportunities to resolve disputes prior to or during the use of formal administrative procedures and litigation. They can be used in almost all matters which are capable of being resolved, under the law, by an agreement between the parties.
However, ADR is not intended to wholly replace the conventional method of resolving disputes through litigation as it offers only alternative approaches to litigate. ADR cannot be invoked unless both parties to a dispute are genuinely interested in a settlement. Alternative Dispute Resolution techniques can be employed in several categories of disputes, especially civil, commercial, industrial and family disputes.
Here are some advantages of opting for alternative dispute resolution mechanisms:
Low Cost: Extensive litigation has indirect costs and time taken to send depositions, gather and prepare documents can be extensive. When large companies are involved in legal disputes, lesser the time is taken in litigation, more the company is enabled to focus on its vision. This is where ADR provides the convenience of efficient and efficacious dispute resolution as it reduces costs by providing a quicker and streamlined resolution.
Faster results and Flexibility: Litigation can drag on for years before a case finally goes to trial and ADR can offer a swift solution. The parties can schedule ADR at their convenience, anytime without having to wait for a court schedule, which not only speeds up the process but also provides flexibility.
Confidentiality: Court cases, judgments and opinions are usually public records, whereas the ADR process is confidential. If the parties settle through mediation or arbitration, no public record exists of what developed at the negotiation meetings or of the amount of the settlement and the discussions remain private and secure amongst the disputing parties and the neutral- third party.
Neutrality: A neutral professional presides over an ADR proceeding with no interest in the outcome of the dispute and who is chosen by both parties to referee the negotiations. The parties are free to select an arbitrator or mediator who has special knowledge of the area of law in question.
Cooperative Negotiations: The parties involved in ADR can use the process as an opportunity to preserve the relationship, whether it is a husband and wife, business partners or an employer and employee. ADR methods are typically less hostile than litigation and allow the parties to get to the heart of the problem and come to a reasonable conclusion.
With over 2.5 crore cases pending in various courts all over the country, justice delayed easily turns into justice denied. The judicial system today lacks judicial officers, staff and proper infrastructure to deal with the backlog cases which is being stretched for years and decades without reaching a final decision. Such situations call for ADR to step in where the justice system fails.
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