6 Pros and Cons of Alternative Dispute Resolution

In the past several years, alternative dispute resolution has become a mainstay procedure in resolving legal disputes. However, is this system the best one to use for you? Well, it is best to know its pros and cons to be able to reach an informed decision whether or not to sign a contract that contains clause of alternative dispute resolution.

List of Pros of Alternative Dispute Resolution

1. It prevents hostility.
Because both sides in this system are basically encouraged to give their full participation and sometimes even to aid in structuring the resolution, they would work together in a peaceful manner, instead of escalating their hostility towards each other, which is often the case in other legal procedures.

2. It uses simplified procedures and rules of evidence.
The often convoluted procedures and rules of evidence are not applied in alternative dispute resolution proceedings, making it less stilted and easier for those involved to adapt to their needs. Importantly, this system will not employ the procedure known as discovery, which includes taking and answering interrogatories, requests to produce documents and depositions, which are often seen to delay and allow tactics to play in litigations. In alternative dispute resolution, most matters—documents, witnesses, etc.—could be handled with phone calls.

3. It is usually cheaper than other litigation procedures.
While alternative dispute resolution procedures are becoming more costly, as there will be more experienced and entrenched lawyers take up the cause, they are still usually far less costly than other litigation proceedings. As you can see, these procedures are generally quicker and less complicated than court proceedings.

List of Cons of Alternative Dispute Resolution

1. It promotes an uneven playing field.
It is believed that the “take it or leave it” principle of alternative dispute resolution clauses would work in favor of the richer or more influential party over the party with less power and shallower pockets.

2. It lacks transparency.
The fact that hearings in this legal procedure are generally held in private, instead of being held in an open courtroom, and decisions are mostly not accessible to the public. While this is considered as a benefit by some people, this lack of transparency can also make the procedure more biased or tainted, which can become a big problem as decisions would be so infrequently put under review by the court.

3. It comes with questionable objectivity.
In alternative dispute resolution, choosing an arbitrator would not be objective, especially when the one who makes the decision is chosen by an agency from a pool list where individuals who have become favorites might get assigned to cases more often. Aside from this, many of the national alternative dispute resolution groups market their services actively to organizations and businesses that sell goods or issue credit cards to consumers, which creates additional questions on neutrality. After all, arbitrators, who are chosen by a party within an industrial niche, might be less objective and would be biased to the appointing group.

Given the pros and cons of alternative dispute resolution, you should be wise to take to become better informed and avoid a bad experience when opting for such procedure.

About the Author
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.