Role of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Common Law

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Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) includes dispute resolution processes and techniques that act as a means for disagreeing parties to come to an agreement as an alternative to court litigation and trial. Common alternatives include mediation, where a mediator helps people come to an agreement, or arbitration, where an arbitrator decides the outcome of the dispute. The position of this paper is that ADR should be expanded as an alternative to formal litigation.

Impact on the Judicial Process

The introduction of ADR has impacted the judicial process in many ways. Various criticisms have been leveled against ADR- that it eliminates the basis for continuing judicial process. Although consent can be acquired, it is not sufficient as it occurs before a judge enters the findings of facts and law conclusions thereby requiring modifications to the decree to allow for the reconstruction of the situation as it was as at the time of entering the decree. Additionally, using ADR in cases involving organization lacks legitimacy due to the unclear representative of the entities.

Benefits to Common Law

Criticisms notwithstanding, ADR is more beneficial to the common law. To begin with, ADR saves a lot of time by coming up with resolutions in weeks, thereby helps achieve the objective of the common law which is to resolve conflict. Elimination of additional law experts in the process lowers the costs involved in the litigation process and helps underscore the goal of common law- delivering justice.


To sum up, whereas there are challenges to application of ADR, its role in augmenting the common law is commendable. Despite focusing on the important issues affecting the parties, rather than concentrate on the legal obligations and rights, its major strength is, perhaps, its capability to restore relationships as it does not create the loser and winner scenario.

December 12, 2023

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