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Alternatives to the courts - advantages and disadvantages
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Home > Lecture notes >  English Legal System >  Civil courts and ADR >  Alternatives to court >  Alternatives to the courts - advantages and disadvantages 

| Cases on ADR, here |

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Advantages

Disadvantages

Cheap, some schemes are completely free.

ADR is not always cheap, and can be as expensive as court action.

Quick, many cases can be resolved in a matter of weeks, or even days.

Not all forms of ADR are quick, in fact some forms of ADR require a client to pass through many stages before adjudication.

Informality is preferred by many clients.

There can be too much informality, not popular with sophisticated clients.

Efficient system for recovery of debts, by individuals.

An unintended and some believe an undesirable result is the constant use by business of small claims procedure as an efficient debt-collecting agency.

ADR is "Alternative" dispute resolution, not intended to be compulsory, but should be "appropriate".

ADR is seen as compulsory because of Dunnett.

Creates an imbalance by allowing an unprepared side to be assisted a mediator.

Disadvantages the less powerful side in a dispute, by assisting negotiation thereby produces a result that reflects the imbalance of bargaining power.

Popular with claimants who do not need to use a lawyer, and in some cases are discouraged by the process from using a lawyer.

Not popular with lawyers because it is not in their financial interests. This has the effect of closing access to the legal system which should be open "to all".

Simple process, for example with small claims

Confusing array of ADR which does not necessarily, in the end, work out quicker or cheaper than court proceedings.

 

Some trade arbitration schemes, such as Ombudsmen often award less than would a court.

More suitable in family matters, or where the parties have an ongoing relationship

Unsuitable for some types of claim, for example where there has been intentional wrongdoing, or involves public law, or crime.

Middle class professional complainants make a high proportion of the users ADR, particularly Ombudsmen and Trade Association schemes.

Why should a party who is "right in law" or has a "very strong" case consider an ADR compromise?

High degree of success.  And use is growing rapidly.

Claimants do not normally issue proceedings wanting to recover a proportion of their claim; they want it all because that is what they consider they are entitled to.

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