Author(s): Molly Townes O'Brien
This chapter provides an overview of the theory and practice of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). It discusses the growing need for methods other than litigation to resolve disputes, and focuses upon the growth of mediation, and to a lesser extent arbitration, in Australia. Other methods of dispute resolution are also discussed.
In the context of mediation, the structure of the mediation process is outlined, and the nature of consensual dispute resolution is explained. Four of the key features of mediation, namely accessibility, voluntariness, confidentiality and facilitation are analysed. Other issues such as power imbalance, enforceability of agreements to mediate and evaluation of mediation are also discussed.
The process of arbitration is then introduced, and the requirements of the Commercial Arbitration Acts are outlined. Finally, court-annexed mediation and arbitration, and the role of the legal profession in ADR practice are discussed.