In today’s commercial world there is no question that various forms of alternative dispute resolution – also known as “ADR” – are becoming increasingly common. Some industry sectors, like the financial markets and brokerage houses, now require that most disputes be submitted to binding ADR. ADR is likely to continue to expand as parties seek alternatives to traditional dispute resolution forums.
The most common forms of ADR are arbitration and mediation. As a general matter, arbitration is typically binding whereas mediation is often non-binding. Most jurisdictions have laws that make binding arbitration or mediation awards enforceable as judgments in a court of law. Of course, many arbitrations and mediations lead to negotiated settlements, just as with court.
It is commonly believed that ADR is less expensive and more efficient than litigation, but whether or not this is true in a given case often depends on the nature of the dispute and what may be riding on the outcome. Other differences between ADR and courts of law also exist. Discovery is often more limited in ADR than in court, juries are not available, punitive damages may or may not be available and there are normally extremely limited rights of appeal. In ADR, the rules of evidence are normally much looser than in court. In any given case, these various differences may – or may not – be to your advantage.
At Cameron/McEvoy PLLC, all we do is litigation, including ADR, around the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and across the United States. We can help you determine whether ADR is in your best interests given the facts of your case. If you are required to use a form of ADR to resolve your dispute, we have the experience necessary to put your case on solid footing and to successfully navigate you through the ADR process.