There are several types of prviate dispute resolution. The most commonly used are grouped under the heading of ADR - Alternative Dispute Resolution. The most popular ADR methods are arbitration and mediation. The definitions below are adapted from the Office for Government Commerce Dispute Resolution Guide.
Mediation is a private and structured form of negotiation assisted by a third party that is initially non-binding. If a settlement is reached the mediator can draw up an agreement that can then become a legally binding contract.
Conciliation is similar to mediation, but the conciliator can propose a solution for the parties to consider before agreement is reached.
Arbitration is probably the best-known form of private dispute resolution, and is a formal, and binding process where the dispute is resolved by the decision of a nominated third party, the arbitrator or arbitrators.
Neutral Evaluation is a private and non-binding technique whereby a third party; usually a judge or somebody legally qualified, gives an opinion on the likely outcome at trial as a basis for settlement discussions.
Expert Determination is a private process involving an independent expert with inquisitorial powers who gives a binding decision.
Adjudication, in the UK, most commonly involves the use of an expert to rule on a technical issue and is primarily used in construction disputes as set out in the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1998, where awards are binding on the parties at least on an interim basis. At the end of the interim period other processes, like arbitration, can be used by the parties to achieve full and final settlement. In addition to construction, we have panels active in media and communications sectors, and also offer an ad-hoc commercial adjudication procedure.
If you are interested in finding out further information about private dispute resolution, and in having your own ADR service developed to cover disputes with clients or a whole sector of business, please contact Gina Shim.