Unit 2: Litigation vs. Alternative Dispute Resolution
In general, legal problems between private parties can be addressed in two basic ways: through the courts, or through less formal alternatives. In this unit, we will look at both the litigation process, which involves the courts, and these less formal alternatives to handling conflicts, known as Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR.
Going to court is usually an expensive and time-consuming prospect. Businesses, which are always looking for ways to more effectively manage costs and other resources, can conserve both by first considering other ways to resolve disputes. For example, before going to court over the failure of a third party to properly install equipment, a business might first consider entering into informal negotiations with the installer to reach a conclusion that is satisfactory to both sides. If this fails, the business might propose the use of a mediator to reach a mutually beneficial result. Often, contracts contain a provision requiring issues be submitted to arbitration with a non-governmental official or organization that acts, in essence, as judge and jury in the matter. If these efforts fail, or it is apparent that ADR would be unworkable from the beginning, then businesses need to consider whether a dispute is best resolved in court, with all of its formal requirements and protections.
This unit will begin by looking at the process by which businesses litigate disputes, who is involved in litigation, and what procedural requirements must be met in order to successfully litigate a dispute. It will then cover various methods of ADR available to businesses, and consider how they can be effectively used to deal with disputes.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 7 hours.