Alternative dispute resolution

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Resolve your dispute without the cost of Court proceedings

ADR stands for Alternative Dispute Resolution and essentially refers to all forms of private resolution that parties to a dispute can participate in as an alternative to court based litigation. In most cases ADR is an effective way of resolving a dispute quickly, cost effectively and without the stress of Court proceedings.

The Courts of England & Wales now expect parties to attempt ADR before embarking on litigation and may make adverse costs orders against a party who unreasonably refuses to participate in ADR when the opportunity presents itself.

Our Dispute Resolution department has particular expertise in organising, conducting and obtaining the best possible results from ADR.

There is no definitive list of the types of ADR, but current popular forms include:


Trying to come to terms with the opposing party by agreeing terms of settlement for a dispute, usually by way of privileged correspondence which cannot be considered by a Court. A negotiation can be as simple as a straightforward offer of money or a more complicated drafted settlement agreement. Sometimes people feel more comfortable having an experienced lawyer guide them through or even taking the lead in such negotiations.


A neutral third party is brought in to try and facilitate a settlement. This will usually be combined with a meeting of the parties at which the mediator will discuss the case with each side in private to try to bring about agreement. This is currently the most popular form of ADR available and is particularly favoured by the courts.


Essentially a less formal trial of the dispute held outside the public courts. These are usually presided over by an experienced lawyer or retired judge, though non-lawyers are sometimes used in particularly technical disputes such as in complex engineering or construction cases.  An arbitration award is intended to be a final determination of a dispute and is recognised by the law of England & Wales.

Expert Determination

The parties agree to be bound by the decision of a professional expert who is jointly instructed to give an opinion on the dispute.

Early Neutral Evaluation

– at an early stage in the dispute the parties agree to jointly instruct a neutral expert to give his or her opinion on which of the parties may succeed if the case is to go to trial. The opinion is non-binding and will not usually be referred to in court. This gives the parties an idea of where litigation may lead them and therefore allows them to make a choice on whether to settle or fight on.


Whichever method of ADR you select, Royds Withy King can provide the relevant expertise – or introduce you to suitable help – and our premises are available as a neutral venue to host meetings if necessary.

Contact us now to find out how our lawyers can help keep your business ahead of the curve.