Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR, or Amicable Dispute Resolution is the process of settling disputes without the interference of the court. It is a private way of solving disputes and is used a lot in today’s time. ADR is one of the best methods for getting quick and economic dispute resolution. It consists of procedures such as Negotiation, Arbitration, Mediation and Conciliation. The procedure of ADR is private and confidential and the parties can choose their own arbitrator for solving the dispute through mutual consent. ADR is a voluntary process unlike litigation.
Processes under ADR
ADR was recognised and in operation in India since 1940. Arbitration in ADR is mandatory if there is a clause of arbitration in the contract between two parties. It is a flexible and confidential process of adjudication. The process is rapid, more efficient and less expensive. Arbitration covers enormous fields such as Commercial transactions both domestic and international issues, environmental issues, consumer disputes, labour disputes, disputes related to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) etc. Conciliation is a less formal form of arbitration, and it does not require a prior clause of arbitration or conciliation in the agreement made by the parties. The person solving the dispute is known as a Conciliator.
Any party can appoint a Conciliator by the mutual consent of the other party. Negotiation is a bilateral or multilateral process in which the parties who differ over a particular issue attempt to reach agreement or compromise over that issue through communication. Mediation is an extension of the negotiation process. It is a process when parties cannot settle their disputes through negotiation and go to an impartial third party to assist them in reaching a resolution. It is a “facilitated negotiation.” The third party is called as a Mediator who may be a lawyer and is neutral to both the parties.
Apart from the four processes of ADR, disputes are solved by Lok Adalats as well. The Lok Adalats or People’s Court are mentioned in the National Legal Service Authority Act, 1987. These courts are presided by a retired judge or a social activist or a person having legal background. Some pending cases of the regular courts are sent to Lok Adalats for dispute resolution. There is no fee for Lok Adalats and are deemed as Civil Courts.
Legal provisions in India regarding ADR
Section 89 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (CPC) provides the opportunity to people for settlement outside the court in the form of arbitration, mediation, conciliation and negotiation. The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and the Legal Services Authority Act, 1987 also deals with the legal provisions of ADR.
ADR is used internationally in different countries and multinational companies. It is supported by the United Nations to prevent conflict, have peaceful settlement of disputes, preserving friendly relationships among international institutions.
The concept of ADR has been used in earlier times as well in villages and towns by simple communication and listening. By ADR, the parties can choose their own tribunal for dispute resolution and is helpful in technical matters when a person with appropriate degree can help the parties. It is less expensive, time saving and a confidential process. In the times of pandemic, ADR is best suited instead of going to the courts.
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