Alternative Dispute Resolution: 4 Main Types

May 30, 2019, By

When it comes down to solving a dispute, taking a case to Court can be an expensive and lengthy process. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is becoming a popular way to resolve all types of disputes and many people are turning to dispute resolution specialists to help them solve tough situations without the need to go to court.

Although some cases do ultimately have to go to court in order to obtain a favourable outcome for all parties, many other disputes can be  resolved using one or more of the following 4 forms of alternative dispute resolution.


Negotiation is often the first option for those wishing to resolve a dispute. Simply because, in some cases, disputes can be solved by both parties taking a ‘cards on the table’ approach and attempting to negotiate a compromise. If required, dispute resolution specialists are able to take instructions and negotiate on behalf of the parties.


A mediator is a jointly instructed neutral party and their role is to assist the parties in reaching an agreement.

The use of a Mediator may assist in diffusing any hostility between the parties and help to focus on the key issues, the party’s objectives and hopefully agree a solution. In certain cases, the Courts may insist that the parties attend mediation before continuing with legal proceedings and can penalise a party with a costs order against them if they refuse to do so


An arbitrator is a neutral third party who the parties have appointed to resolve the dispute. The arbitrator will be a specialist in the field where the dispute arises for example civil engineering.  The arbitrator will hear from both parties before making their decision. Parties can choose from a single arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators which are presided over by a chairman.

When an arbitrator has come to a final decision which is binding, the decision can be enforced by the court.

Expert determination

Parties can jointly instruct an expert to answer a specific question or issue which is in dispute. The expert will have specialist knowledge of the area which is in dispute. This produces a quick result and is generally a quick and informal process. The parties agree that the expert’s determination will  be binding which means that there are limited rights of appeal if parties do not agree with the expert.

Disputes can be a draining experience and diverts attention from moving your business forwards in a positive direction.  Our  dispute resolution specialists can help minimise the impact of disputes and help you reach a resolution in the most cost effective and time efficient way, whatever the method. If you need expert support, please get in touch with our dedicated dispute resolution team.