The courthouse & alternative dispute resolution

Litigation in court is the usual process for people to settle their conflict or issues. Unfortunately, court actions require the assistance of counsel and the use of huge sums of money and lots of time before the parties get an order that serves as the settlement arrangement between them.

When conflicts in the enforcement of contracts or when there is a violation of rights of another, people traditionally go to court to settle the issues and arrive at a just ruling that is in accordance with the applicable rule of law. However, court processes may take a long time due to the need to follow strict procedures, and the parties may be forced to spend a lot of money in defending their claims (Bercovitch, Anagnoson & Wille, 1991).

Thus, recent developments show the promotion and preference towards various forms of alternative dispute resolution, which serve as substitutes to court processes in settling issues between conflicting parties (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Thus, recent developments show the promotion and preference towards various forms of alternative dispute resolution, which serve as substitutes to court processes in settling issues between conflicting parties (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution whereby parties voluntarily undergo an informal process, where the parties call upon a neutral third person who would help them arrive at a solution that is agreeable and reasonable to both parties (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).

Mediation provides an opportunity for parties to calmly talk about their issues, with the ultimate goal of arriving at a mutually acceptable solution (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Thus, while in litigation, the resolution to the issues comes from an impartial judge whose judgment is the law between them, the solution in mediation would largely come from the parties themselves, and the mediator merely serves as a facilitator of communication between the parties (Burn & Company Solicitors).

The mediation process involves the participation of a neutral third person who helps the parties arrive at a solution that is agreeable and reasonable to both parties (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2004). Benefits of Mediation: Mediation is a fair and neutral process, wherein both parties can decide which way the resolution of the conflict would go Mediation also helps the parties save on money and time, because they are not required to have legal representation, and negotiation often leads to a deal with just one meeting (Holaday, 2002).

Alternative dispute resolutions are especially useful in cases where the adversarial legal system could get too taxing or difficult for the parties. One such example is a divorce proceeding, which could be difficult, not only for the parties involved, but most especially for their children.

Alternative dispute resolution has therefore been explored in this field over the past years. Alternative dispute resolution allows parties to fulfill common goals, such as sharing parenting responsibilities, while settling various issues involved in the divorce proceedings (Cohen, 2006).

Court systems often do not work in divorce proceedings, because they are very confrontational in nature. Court systems cause family members in divorce proceedings to treat each other as enemies, which lead to detrimental effects on their personal relationships. Court systems cause parties to lose sight of their goal, because they become too focused on destroying their "enemies" through various means, such as evoking fights and telling lies (Cohen, 2006).

Burn & Company Solicitors.(2005). The Mediator’s Role. Retrieved April 17, 2008, from http://commercial.burn-company.co.uk/services_adr_role.htm Cohen, D. (2006). Making Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) less Alternative: The Need for ADR as both a Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Requirement and a Bar Exam Topic. Family Court Review 44(4), 640-657.

Dickinson, D. L. (2004). A Comparison of Conventional, Final-Offer, and "Combined" Arbitration for Dispute Resolution. Industrial and Labor Relations Review 57(2), 288-301. Holaday, L. C. (2002). Stage Development Theory: A Natural Framework for Understanding the Mediation Process. Negotiation Journal, 191-210.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2004). Facts About Mediation. 2004. Retrieved April 17, 2008, from http://www.eeoc.gov/mediate/facts.html