An ounce of mediation and pound of arbitration is worth a ton of litigation

You’re at your attorney’s office and you hear your attorney use the term Alternative Dispute Resolution. However, you want to hear none of it, you want your attorney to go to court and “win” your case. But what is Alternative Dispute Resolution, hereinafter referred to as “ADR” and is ADR important or of relevance?

ADR can be described as a group of processes through which conflicts and disputes are resolved between parties without the involvement of formal litigation procedures. A Practice Direction previously issued in the Trinidad and Tobago Gazette on January 18, 2013 and titled Alternative Dispute Resolution Pilot Project pursuant to Part 4 of the The Civil Proceedings Rules, 1998 as amended (CPR) aimed to foster ADR with a view to achieving numerous things. This was inclusive of but not limited to the early resolution of disputes, reducing the expenditure incurred by parties and enhancing the satisfaction of participants who engage in these processes by meeting their needs.

There are a wide range of processes available to potentially resolve a dispute such as negotiation, mediation and arbitration just to name a few. Negotiation is communication that is targeted to reach an agreement between parties to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution. This communication can either be conducted by the parties themselves or by their attorneys.

Furthermore, mediation is a process by which an impartial third party known as the mediator facilitates the negotiation between disputing parties to assist them to arrive at an agreed resolution. This is done by the employment of certain techniques, practices and skills by the mediator.

On the other hand, arbitration usually takes place in accordance with some agreement made between the parties whereby the parties agree that this is the mechanism to be used for the resolution of disputes that may arise. Important to note is that any decision made by the arbitrator is binding upon the parties.

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