What Is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

Last updated: 21 November 2016

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is commonly used as an alternative to asking a judge or arbitrator to settle a dispute. There are different types of ADR. Your choice of which method to use will depend on several factors. Here Gemma Pickavant explains the general benefits of using ADR, as well as the different types of ADR available to you.

The courts now expect you to have considered ADR in almost all situations. There are also situations where it is compulsory to use ADR to try to resolve your dispute before starting court action.

Jump to:

  1. What Are The Benefits Of Using Alternative Dispute Resolution?
  2. Are There Any Disadvantages To Using ADR?
  3. What Are The Types Of Alternative Dispute Resolution?

What Are The Benefits Of Using Alternative Dispute Resolution?

  • You’ll save time – you don’t need to wait for an available court date, you can agree to a meeting at a convenient time when both parties are available
  • Save money – ADR is typically cheaper than the court process, and it’s not always necessary to instruct a solicitor
  • Flexible – you can agree to a solution which suits both parties moving forward (e.g. a re-negotiated contract with a different payment schedule) whereas the court has a limited number of outcomes which tend to destroy relationships
  • Confidential – proceedings are held in private and are normally on a ‘without prejudice’ basis, meaning that anything you say can’t be used against you if you do end up going to court
  • No negative reputation – if you go to court, you may face negative media coverage

Are There Any Disadvantages To Using ADR?

There are a few disadvantages to using ADR that you should be aware of, including:

  • There is no certainty of a binding outcome
  • ADR is not always suitable, for example in a case where emergency relief is necessary or the opposing party is simply not prepared to engage in the process
  • If ADR fails, you may consider it to have been a waste of time and money

You should be aware that if you do use a method of ADR, you must consider any limitation periods in bringing your claim to court. Using ADR does not add time to the limitation period.

It’s also possible for a ‘standstill agreement’ to be drafted, which can prevent the time period for limitation continuing to run, but this needs to be addressed and you should get legal advice to make sure that any such agreement is effective.

What Are The Types Of Alternative Dispute Resolution?

Get in touch

Our dispute resolution solicitors act on behalf of many businesses and entrepreneurs. We can provide expert advice about whether a form of ADR is right for you. We can represent you through an ADR procedure or just advise you behind the scenes. We can produce a settlement agreement for you based on the outcome of any ADR discussions.
Call 0800 689 1700 for an initial consultation, or contact us online and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours

  • Your data will only be used by Harper James Solicitors. We will never sell your data and promise to keep it secure. You can find further information in our privacy policy.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

A national law firm

We mainly work remotely, so we can work with you wherever you are. But we can arrange face-to-face meeting at our offices or a location of your choosing.

Our commercial lawyers are based in or close to major cities across the UK, providing expert legal advice to clients both locally and nationally.

Floor 2, Cavendish House, 39-41 Waterloo Street, Birmingham, B2 5PP
Stirling House, Cambridge Innovation Park, Denny End Road, Waterbeach, Cambridge, CB25 9QE
10 Fitzroy Square, London, W1T 5HP
13th Floor, Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester, M1 4BT
Harwell Innovation Centre, 173 Curie Avenue, Harwell, Oxfordshire, OX11 0QG
2-5 Velocity Tower, 1 St Mary’s Square, Sheffield, S1 4LP

Our other locations

Immeuble Danica B, 21, avenue Georges Pompidou, Lyon Cedex 03, Lyon, 69486