Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR1 (hereafter) constitute specific forms, or combinations thereof, of voluntary, contractual, non-judicial initiatives to resolve civil disputes. ADR for the Department of Constitutional Affairs (DCA2) refers to the "Collective description of methods of resolving disputes otherwise than through the normal trial process."
The Arbitration Act 1966 and 19965 provided full court application of one of the ADR procedures, following the lead of UNCITRAL's 1958 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards paving the way to acceptance of arbitration in international trade dispute resolution. The methods were taken up by the public after they have been officially encouraged in Lord Woolf's 1996 "Access to Justice" report.6 The Police (Northern Ireland) Act 20007 is one of the more recent statutes applying ADR to administrative tribunal cases following PACE 1984, infra.
The cost effectiveness of ADR has been fully demonstrated in commercial litigation. It has also placed or misplaced false hopes on the alternative methods application in civil cases. Civil case application of ADR encouraged the proliferation of profit and non-profit ADR providers and services with fully trained and accredited ADR practitioners, most of whom are also solicitors.
The CPR required active management of cases by judges, including encouragement of litigating parties to use ADR. For the purpose of facilitating ADR use by litigants, CPR allows the court to stay its proceedings while the parties concerned try to settle the case. ...