What is “ADR”

Overview

ADR is an umbrella term for dispute resolution processes, other than judicial determination, where an independent person (an ADR practitioner) helps to sort out the issues between the people in dispute. ADR can provide a fair process to achieve outcomes that work for everyone.

ADR is commonly used as an abbreviation for Alternative Dispute Resolution, but can also be used to mean Assisted or Appropriate Dispute Resolution. Some also use the term ADR to include approaches that enable parties to prevent or manage their own disputes without outside assistance. In family matters it is also referred to as Family Dispute Resolution “FDR”.

ADR Processes

ADR processes may be facilitative, advisory, determinative or in some cases a combination of these.

In facilitative processes an ADR practitioner assists the parties to a dispute to identify the disputed issues, develop options, consider alternatives and endeavour to reach an agreement about some issues or the whole dispute. Examples of facilitative processes are mediation, conciliation and facilitation.

In advisory processes an ADR practitioner considers and appraises the dispute and provides advice as to the facts of the dispute, the law and, in some cases, possible or desirable outcomes, and how these may be achieved. Advisory processes include expert appraisal, case appraisal, case presentation, mini-trial and early neutral evaluation.

In determinative processes an ADR practitioner evaluates the dispute (which may include the hearing of formal evidence from the parties) and makes a determination. Examples of determinative ADR processes are arbitration, expert determination and private judging.