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Resolve a dispute

Alternative Dispute Resolution Legal Advice

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a way of sorting out your disputes without going to court. It is usually cheaper, quicker and less formal. There are two main types of ADR: Arbitration and Mediation.



  • A trained mediator is appointed to try to facilitate a settlement of your dispute
  • The mediator is neutral and doesn’t represent either side
  • The mediator manages the process – often a series of meetings between the parties spread over one day
  • Mediation is successful 75% of the time, saving time, money and stress
  • But it is always your choice as to whether or not to settle
  • An arbitrator is appointed to decide your dispute
  • The arbitrator is often an experienced expert rather than a judge who may know nothing about your industry
  • The arbitrator manages the process – which is either done by documents-only or could include a hearing
  • The arbitrator is not bound by the formalities of normal court procedure
  • You and the other party are bound by the result and it is easier to enforce than most other proceedings and internationally binding

What is ADR?

ADR stands for Alternative Dispute Resolution and is an alternative forum for dispute resolution to the traditional Courts. This includes round table negotiations,   mediation, arbitration, adjudication, tribunals and various industry specific Ombudsman schemes.

What is the alternative dispute resolution process?

The process will depend on the form of ADR you choose. The process differs quite significantly between say mediation and arbitration. However, there are some common elements to the process, for example the claimant gets to put forward his position and the defendant gets to respond to the claimant. Each form of ADR has its own rules and it is always helpful to consult a lawyer who is familiar with the rules for a specific forum to guide you through the process to give yourself the best chance of getting the result you want.

What are the three types of ADR?

Traditionally the three types of ADR were mediation, arbitration and adjudication. However, other forms have evolved since then such as specialist tribunals such as the industry specific Ombudsman Schemes that exist to give you even more alternatives than having to go to Court.

Why is ADR advantageous?

The main advantage is that the parties have more control over the process as oppose to Court actions where the Court controls the process. There are also other advantages such as faster outcomes, less formalities, confidentiality and more control over costs.

Which form of alternative dispute resolution is usually legally binding?

There are degrees to the extent that ADR can be legally binding. For example, Arbitration is binding in the same way as a judgment by a Court whilst a determination by an Ombudsman is only binding of the referring party accepts the decision afterwards. In Adjudication, the losing party must act in accordance with the adjudicator’s decision, for example make a payment to the winner and then refer the matter to Court if he does not agree with the adjudicator’s decision.

Which ADR method is the most formal?

ADR is designed to be less formal than the courts to encourage more parties to make use of ADR. Arbitration is the most formal form of ADR and Ombudsman Schemes are the least formal.

Should you sign a dispute resolution agreement?

You should only enter into a dispute resolution agreement if you know for certain that that specific form of ADR is best suited for your depute. Problems could arise when parties agree to one specific form of ADR with no other alternative at the start of a contract, only for one party to realise when a dispute arise that given the nature of the dispute, another form of ADR would have suited them better. Sometimes, one form of ADR might suit one party better than the other party.

Meet the Alternative Dispute Resolution specialists

Regulated and experienced UK Lawyers

Show more
  • Diane Pearce LawBrief Solicitor
    Diane Pearce
  • Andrew Smith LawBrief Solicitor
    Andrew Smith
  • Louise Paull
    Louise Paull
  • Richard Beckwith, LawBrief Solicitor and Mediator
    Richard Beckwith
  • Hannah Newell LawBrief Solicitor
    Hannah Newell
  • Diana Wallis, LawBrief Mediator
    Diana Wallis

How can our panel of mediators and arbitrators help?

The expert mediators and arbitrators available through our platform can help you resolve your disputes quickly and affordably.

Call us on

020 7148 1066

or complete the form to set up your free consultation

How much does it cost?

It’s free to speak with one our ADR Team. Call us or enter an enquiry so we can set up a free consultation for you. We will assess your situation and present options to take your matter forward.

Half-day mediation package (3.5hrs + 1hr reading time) £675+VAT

Full-day mediation package (8hrs + 3hrs reading time) £1,650+VAT

Reduced rates available for subscribers to LawBite Pricing Plans

Got a dispute under the value of £1,000?

Please note that for disputes, it is unlikely that we will be able to review all documentation and information relating to a situation within an initial 15 minute consultation period. If you are looking for direction on the strength of your case, there will usually be a fee associated with this service (and any follow up steps, e.g. letter drafting, referral to mediation or arbitration). For disputes with a value of £1,000 or less, we offer a cost-effective telephone mediation service which costs £125 plus VAT per party and has a 75% success rate. For more information complete the enquiry form or email [email protected]

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