When a legal dispute arises, the first port of call for many is usually the courts. Alternative Dispute Resolution, commonly referred to as ADR, is adopted to afford easy access to justice. ADR is a medium of resolving disputes outside of the court rooms where parties find a way of reaching a settlement with or without an impartial 3rd party. This article will firstly outline the various forms of ADR and will also in turn discuss the advantages of ADR.

The main forms of ADR include:

  1. Negotiation
  2. Arbitration
  3. Conciliation

The forms of ADR indicated above are normally chosen depending on the nature of disputes between the parties. It is imperative to note that it is also upon the parties to choose the best form which suits them. In the next article we shall delve in detail into these various forms of ADR.

ADR affords individuals with the following advantages:

Firstly, ADR affords parties with privacy that courts cannot provide. Disputes can be resolved outside of court in a private setting. Conversely courts are open to the public. This in turn helps corporates protect their brands.

Secondly, ADR helps maintain good relationships. Sometimes proceeding by way of court process may tear apart working relationships. Alternative dispute resolutions help preserve working relations. This is particularly important in disputes between corporates who may want to continue working together long term.

Thirdly, engaging in ADR enables parties to avoid unforeseeable court decisions. Going to court is usually a gamble. One can never know the outcome of court proceedings.

Fourthly, with ADR parties can avoid formalities of litigation and avoid matters being dismissed on mere technicalities. What is also pertinent is court processes may stretch into years upon years, ADR on the other hand can be much faster.

Lastly it follows that since ADR can be a significantly faster method of resolving disputes, it goes without saying that it tends to be more affordable therefore allowing parties to cut down on costs.

ADR encourages parties to reach amicable resolutions without burning bridges and allowing each party to leave the table with their interests protected in one way or the other. In our next article we will discuss in detail the forms of ADR in Zimbabwe.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.