Use alternative dispute resolution could be the decision of the parties involved, or result from a court-order or clause in a contract regarding the matter being litigated.
Especially after the Covid-19 crisis began in March of 2020, more cases went to ADR instead of the courts because of the high cost of litigation in the courtroom.
More contracts include clauses requiring disputes to go to binding arbitration instead of courts. In those cases, the parties are not able to sue in a civil court.
Many divorcing couples opt for mediation in order to reduce the expense associated with litigation over the division of property. Collaborative law is a form of mediation popular with divorcing couples. Mediation is nonbinding, meaning that if the parties cannot reach an agreement, they may go to court.
Arbitration is a common form of alternative dispute resolution. In arbitration, the parties typically select a panel of arbitrators. The arbitrators themselves are often lawyers. In many cases, one party will pick one arbitrator, the other side will pick one, and the third will be selected by a neutral party.
The two parties will make their case before the panel. The panel then reaches a decision or awards money damages to one side or the other.
The arbitration may be binding, meaning the parties must stick with the results, or nonbinding, meaning they can go to court if the result doesn't work for one of the parties.
Mediation is also a popular form of ADR. In mediation, the two sides pick one lawyer as mediator. The mediator will work with both sides, advising them on the legal consequences of their decisions, and help them reach a compromise. Civil courts frequently order clients to go to mediation before going to trial.
Alternative dispute resolution lawyers include both civil attorneys practicing in arbitration and attorneys that specifically practice mediation.