Five FAQs about alternative dispute resolution


What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

If you enter into a dispute with another person and can’t come to a mutual agreeable solution to your disagreement, ADR can often be an effective way to resolve your issues without resorting to court action. You should take full legal advice from a solicitor before entering any form of ADR to ensure that is the best course of action for you.

Will the decisions that are made via ADR be legally binding?

In most cases the decisions that are reached via ADR are not legally enforceable, as a court of law was not involved. Unlike arbitration where each party can agree that decisions are legally binding, most cases that use ADR rely on the honesty of each party to abide by the decisions reached. Your solicitor can advise you whether ADR is appropriate in your particular case and whether the method you are using will result in a legally binding agreement.

Should I use ADR if I am owed an unpaid debt?

Before you go to court to force your debt to be paid, the court would normally insist that you have at least attempted to resolve your dispute with ADR. The Small Claims Court won’t look at your case until you can show evidence that you have tried ADR and this has failed. In all cases, always obtain the legal advice of a solicitor through each stage of the process.

Can ADR be used in medical negligence cases?

If you have a case of alleged medical negligence you want to pursue in court for the payment of damages, ADR can help to reveal the circumstances that resulted in the alleged medical negligence. However, because a court is not involved with ADR, the party you are accusing of medical negligence would not be compelled to make any changes to their practices if they settled in acceptance of their liability. This is a highly contentious area of the law that should be fully explained by a personal injury solicitor before you take any action.

How can a solicitor help with any ADR I use?

As many cases that use ADR will also have a legal element, it is vitally important to have a solicitor advising you throughout the process. A solicitor can also be a great help as they can clarify areas of the law that your ADR may touch on. And a solicitor can assess any potential agreement to ensure it supports what you hoped to achieve by using ADR, and advise you as to its enforceability.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on ADR, Contact Law can put you in touch with a local specialist solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local specialist solicitors, please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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