What the HECK is dispute resolution and why do I need to know about it?

What the HECK is dispute resolution and why do I need to know about it?

What is it?  Dispute resolution refers to different types of processes that are used to resolve a conflict or claim. Your choices are court (no fun) OR ADR, which is alternative dispute resolution through arbitration or mediation.  


Arbitration is similar to court but not as formal, although you still may have things like testimonies and evidence. Meditation is even less formal and usually involves one third-party facilitating discussion to come to an agreeable resolution. 


Basically these are the ALTERNATIVES to going to court and having a judge or jury decide the outcome of the conflict or claim, and instead you have a third party decide or help you come to resolution. This third party is usually a mediator or arbitrator - although there are other types as well.  


Why use it?  The MAJOR reasons are that it’s cheaper and faster than court (i.e., traditional legal process). It also allows the parties to participate more in reaching a decision as they are less formal.


How does it work?  It depends on what is in your contract, but usually your contract outlines the guidelines. When someone decides they need to file a claim against the other party, instead of filing in court, they start the process through arbitration or mediation and the third party will guide you on the appropriate steps and what needs to be done to resolve the dispute.  


Usually each party will present their side of the story, facts, and other info and then the third-party makes a binding decision and that is IT. You don’t necessarily need an attorney to participate, although some people like to have one along for the ride.  


Worth repeating: this is SO much better than court.