The need for effective and efficient means of resolving domestic, social, commercial and international disputes besides the conventional process of litigation has necessitated the emergence of various alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods which assist in ensuring justice and orderliness in the society. The court system is the most common method often employed in resolving disputes, and it has created a clog in the wheel of quick dispensation of justice. There are several alternatives to litigation. Some of which include negotiation, conciliation, mediation, arbitration, mini-trial, and several others. Presently, arbitration is commonly used in developed climes especially for resolution of disputes arising from international commercial transactions.
Arbitration is a dispute resolution mechanism used in resolving civil disputes. Not every dispute can be referred to arbitration. However, trade disputes, domestic and international commercial transaction disputes are most commonly referred to arbitration. The purview does not extend to criminal cases as this is an area restricted to the public. Trade disputes usually arise from interaction between organized labour and government.
There are several reasons for the preference of ADR mechanisms over the conventional adjudicatory process of dispute resolution. Besides the complex technicalities which characterize the traditional means of adjudication, ADR saves time, money and resources. The mechanisms employed also allow confidentiality and private settlement of disputes between or among concerned parties.
Advantages of ADR
1. Quick dispensation of justice: ADR affords the disputants the opportunity of a shorter time frame in resolving their differences.
2. Mutually acceptable decision: This is because ADR allows the parties to mutually agree on areas of compromise which enhance resolution the dispute
3. Reduces cost: ADR is perceived as cheaper than litigation. The time-consuming nature of the litigation process also attests to its demanding character. The method of litigation requires more human and monetary resources because it takes a longer period.
4. Privacy and confidentiality: Confidentiality attaches to the proceedings and parties to the proceedings. This is unlike the court trial which is held publicly. Documents tendered in the process are private documents which are not to be made public. Most businesses guard their trade secrets jealously and would prefer to attract as little publicity as possible in issues concerning the business.
5. Congested courtrooms: This also gives ADR an edge over the traditional court process. Most cases in the court have dragged on for years and are still unresolved. Nonetheless, there are still cases especially in the area of criminal litigation emerging daily.
Most countries in the world are fast becoming ADR friendly due to its suitability for commercial transactions. Parties who intend to enter into executing contractual agreements especially when it involves cross-border relationships should consider including ADR clauses in the agreement.
By Tosho M.
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