What is ADR?

In some contexts, mediation is thought of as a form of “ADR”. ADR stands for Alternative Dispute Resolution. Originally, ADR processes were viewed as an “alternative” to the more traditional and prevalent form of dispute resolution: litigation. Today, even those conflicts that become litigated cases rarely reach resolution by means of a verdict and entry of judgment. Figures vary, but estimates of cases filed that are terminated in some other way are over 90%. Sometimes the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is referred to as Dispute Resolution (DR), reflecting the fact that the vast majority of disputes, even those that involve lawsuits, are resolved without seeing litigation through to the bitter end. Perhaps litigation to conclusion will be described as the “alternative” approach someday.

Negotiation is another form of ADR, in which two or more people attempt to reach agreement on a dispute. Arbitration is a different ADR process, in which a neutral third party reviews evidence, hears arguments presented, and then issues a decision.

Mediation differs from both of these processes. A mediator is an impartial person who works with two or more people to reach a negotiated agreement, but does not wield the power to impose a decision on them.

The Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) has a helpful section on frequently asked questions (FAQs) and the benefits of mediation. Click on the Resources button above and then click the link to the ACR FAQ page.

Posted in ADR: Dispute Resolution Processes, Sunday, May 6th, 2007

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