ALTERBATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
Although some predicted that informal dispute resolution procedures would
be second-class justice for the poor, large corporations have recently
embraced settlement processes, including arbitration, advisory hearings,
such as the mini-trial and, more recently, mediation.
explain their interests not only in terms of savings achieved in money
and time but also in terms of the increased opportunity corporate executives
have to make decisions based on sound business principals rather than
legal standards. Further, mediation in a broad array of cases and parties
has been institutionalized in multi-door courthouses, which offer
an expanded range of court services.
Another development has been the growing support for mediation of issues
related to divorce, particularly child custody disputes. Justified by
some as a move to alleviate caseloads or reduce parties' costs, mediation
of these disputes appears, in fact, has won legal system support
even in the absence of documented caseload gains or cost effectiveness.
Like community-wide civil rights disputes, the custody dispute has repercussions
for children and thereby society as a whole, not just court caseloads
and parties' expenses, when settlements are not reached. Settlement also
offers the prospect of more workable solutions than those imposed by court
During the past decades, ADR has evolved
from a term of art into a civil movement that has directly impacted on
how virtually every state and federal court in the nation perceives its
function in the disposition of pending caseloads. Court systems, faced
with growing civil backlogs and limited judicial and staff resources,
have investigated, developed and implemented non-judicial methods of case
disposition, such as mediation and arbitration, to help relieve congested
These alternatives permit individuals to shape the final resolution
of their conflict and to avoid the psychological trauma, the financial
costs, and the time delay associated with court procedures. As we have
seen through the Delaware Superior Court's the arbitration, mediation, and neutral assessment process, the alternative process increases efficiency in resolving disputes
by achieving an early disposition of cases with resultant savings in time
and costs to the litigants and to the court, but without sacrificing the
quality of justice rendered.
Furthermore, it is well argued that disputants
who participate directly in creating agreements that resolve their disputes
are generally more satisfied with the outcome than disputants who become
subject to the terms of a jury verdict or court order.