Alternative Dispute Resolution (or ADR for short) is the overall term used to describe processes of resolving disputes, other than than the conduct of litigation by lawyers in a court.
The term covers three types of processes:
- Facilitative Processes, like mediation, conciliation and , where the dispute resolver does not make a decision but assists the parties, through information exchange and focusing on non-legal interests, issues and solutions, to achieve an agreement.
- Investigative Processes, like expert determination and adjudication, where the dispute resolver receives and reviews information (which may include witness statements but more often includes technical material and data) which allows them to reach a conclusion to the questions that have been jointly posed by the parties. This process may result in a binding decision, but often it is a report to the parties which will enable them to reach agreement about an outcome.
- Determinative Processes, like arbitration which is in many ways like a private court hearing. The parties attend, provide evidence and make submissions and the dispute resolver delivers a binding award.