Alternative dispute resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is an option that is becoming more and more popular which allows people to resolve their disputes out side of the court in a comprehensive and cooperative way. ADR is an approach that is quick, less stressful, and cheaper than going to court. ADR processes refer to a variety of action that can help parties resolve their disputes. The ADR processes include mediation, arbitration, neutral evaluation, and collaborative law (T & T, 1997). 

In mediation, a neutral intermediary; like a referee “the mediator”, helps each party reach a mutually agreed settlement of the dispute. If a settlement is agreed upon then it will be recorded in a legally binding contract.

Similar to mediation in arbitration a neutral party is involved known as an “arbitrator,” who will be assigned to hear the case. Arbitrators will usually be former judges or experienced lawyers. In arbitration, a party does have the right to argue on their own behalf or bring in legal counsel.

Neutral evaluation is a kind of “hybrid process” between a non-binding arbitration and mediation.  The idea is that parties to a dispute voluntarily sit down with a neutral third party and present their case to the neutral as they would do in arbitration.  When each party has finished presenting their case a neutral person would explain to them what the outcome would most likely be from an arbitrator or judge based on the evidence and arguments presented by the parties.  

Collaborative Law is one of the newest of “ADR” models in which both parties to the dispute retain separate, specially-trained lawyers whose only job is to help them settle the dispute. If the lawyers can not resolve the dispute then their job is done. They are not allowed to represent the party in court of arbitration. The participants will agree to work together respectfully, honestly, and in good faith to try to find a solution that benefits everyone involved. ADR's often create solutions, longer-lasting outcomes, greater satisfaction, and improved relationships.  


Jurisdiction is a legal term that refers to the ability of a certain court having the right to hear a given case. Jurisdiction is important because it creates an organized way for cases to be heard. If courts did not use appropriate jurisdiction, every court could hypothetically hear every case brought to them, which would lead to confusing and contradictory results (Cornell University).

Jurisdiction is better understood on a state level. Every state in the United States has its own court system to hear cases arising from that state. If a citizen of Florida sued a citizen of New York in involving a real estate purchase transaction that took place in California. Because the parties live in Florida and New York the case could be tried in either state. The ase could also be tried in California were the transaction took place. On the contrary, a particular case of this type could not be brought in the state of Iowa, because neither parties live there, and the state of Iowa has no attachment to the case at all. The Iowa court would dismiss any claims in this example because it would not have the appropriate jurisdiction.

Judicial Review

Judicial Review is done by the High Court. They review acts done by public authorities or a court decision. The review is in respect to the procedural issues and in relation to whether the decision was correct according to the law. The court must first consider if the case is eligible for the review. This type of review is done against a public body and a decision must constitute infringement of public law rights not private law rights. In general terms judicial review may be appropriate where the challenge is based on an allegation that the public body has taken an unlawful decision or action, and there is no adequate alternative remedy (


Discovery refers to a phase of litigation where the parties seek information from one another. The information which may be requested “discovered” during the discovery phase is very broad. The methods can include depositions, interrogatories, demands to produce documents, requests for admission, and site inspections. In fact, courts allow the request of information which is "reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence"( A party to litigation may have to place much of their past personal lives onto the public record.


A pleading is one of the papers filed with a court in a civil action. An example of this would be a complaint, or an answer to the complaint. A complaint is the first pleading filed by a plaintiff which begins a lawsuit. A complaint is the allegations for the cause of action. The answer is a pleading that will admit or deny the specific allegations set forth in a complaint by a defendant (United States Department of Justice).


Turan, S., & Taylor, C. (1997). Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): A Different Framework for Conflict Resolution in Educational Settings. Retrieved from ERIC database.

Cornell University (n.d.) Retrieved February 27, 2010, from (n.d.) Retrieved February 28, 2010, from (n.d.) Discovery Law & Legal Definition, Retrieved March 1, 2010, from

United States Department of justice (n.d.) Retrieved March 1, 2010, from