Disputes occur between an individual and others, an individual and the state, and even between one state and another. It is with this background that various steps have been suggested to aid in dispute resolution. Dispute resolution is the process of resolving disputes and problems between warring parties. There are various ways of settling disputes. This includes: litigation, collaborative law, conciliation, mediation, facilitation, and negotiation. Some people have argued that violence could also be a way of settling disputes. However, violence never really serves to find solutions for disputes, and in most cases, it escalates them.
Judicial dispute resolution involves a coercive power of the state that comes into place to help settle disputes in cases where the differing parties do not reach an agreement using any other collaborative method. It provides professional advice, especially when the dispute involves legal wrongdoing or when they are threatened that legal action will be taken against them. The most common form here is litigation where one party files a suit against another and a judge decides the outcome.
Online dispute resolution often has the differing parties to resolve their disputes using technology, for example, over Internet. It has become a common way of resolving disputes in recent days of live video feeds and teleconferencing. It also involves the use of traditional methods of dispute resolution to find solutions to disputes that arise online.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a collective term for how parties can decide to resolve their disputes, with or without the help of a third party such as the arbitrator, or a judge. It includes informal and formal tribunals and formal and informal meditative processes. In recent times, ADR has been a common method of resolving disputes because it saves time, money and increases the control that the parties have over the process and outcome. Since ADR uses less adversarial and hostile ways of resolving disputes, it ensures that the parties preserve their relationships, get satisfaction from the outcome, and improves the relationship between the attorney and the client. This type of conflict resolution includes mediation, negotiation, and arbitration.
Mediation involves voluntary and confidential ways of resolving disputes where an independent and impartial individual helps two or more groups to reach a solution that everyone accepts to be fair. Mediators are allowed to talk to each part; either individually or together, they then ask questions that may help uncover the underlying problems. However, they do not make judgment as in the judicial process, but help the parties understand the issues and help them clarify the options that they can use to resolve these disputes.
In arbitration, however, the conflicting parties involve one or more arbitrators outside the courts who make decisions that both parties should abide by. The third party reviews the evidence and makes a decision that will legally bind the conflicting parties. It can be either voluntary, or mandatory, which stems from a contract that the parties voluntarily agreed upon. The dispute is resolved by an impartial adjudicator, who makes professional decisions that both parties will follow because it is final and binding. In real sense, there are close to no rights of review or appeal for the parties in an arbitration case.
Negotiation is a process of settling disputes: the conflicting parties reach a compromise while avoiding argument. Each party tries to gain an advantage for themselves by the end of the process. Mediation is the best method of resolving disputes because both parties contribute to the process; thus, having control as opposed to arbitration. It also ensures confidentiality while making sure that the overall cost is not too much for the parties to bear. This is unlike in the arbitration process where the arbitrator is at times very expensive because of the level of specific skill needed and may make decisions that do not auger well with both parties.