Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) refers to alternatives to litigation, which is the most common means of resolving disputes.

To describe a wide range of techniques for resolving disputes that are not limited to traditional judicial proceedings, the phrase “alternative dispute resolution” or “ADR” is frequently used. Negotiated settlement discussions, arbitration systems, and mini-trials all fall under the umbrella of “facilitated settlement negotiations” or “facilitated settlement negotiations,” respectively. Processes aimed at reducing tensions within communities or assisting in their growth can also be classified as community-based ADR (ADR).

An ADR system can be called negotiation, mediation, or arbitration, depending on the dispute it deals with. Using a system of negotiation, the parties involved in a disagreement can negotiate directly without requiring the assistance of a third party to step in. Mediation and conciliation systems are highly similar in that they use a third party to mediate a specific issue or restore the relationship between the disputants. While mediators and conciliators can assist open the lines of conversation or guiding a settlement, they haven’t been given the power to make judgments or rule on the terms of a settlement agreement. Disputes can be settled through arbitration procedures, allowing a third party to make the final decision.

Types of Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR)

The following are different types of Alternative dispute resolution:


An ADR process known as mediation may be used to settle conflicts quickly and informally with the help of a neutral third-party mediator. Divorce, child custody, civil problems, rent/property disputes, and dishonored checks fall under “Lawyer-supported mediation,” which refers to a new conflict resolution technique offered to parties.

Using this method, a family mediator works with a family lawyer or solicitor. Users of lawyer-supported mediation initially meet with their separate attorneys for advice before participating in joint mediation sessions. During the intervals between sessions, mediation participants consult with an attorney to learn more about their alternatives. Lawyers are brought in to analyze any agreement struck during mediation and make specific provisions legally binding. Because neither a negotiator nor a litigator is employed initially, the cost of legal counsel for clients selecting lawyer-supported mediation is often set.

When mediation fails to produce a partial or complete agreement, both parties are free to engage their counsel to pursue litigation. Collaborative law, on the other hand, compels each party to hire a new family counsel before proceeding with court action in the event of a breakdown in roundtable discussions.

Disagreements sometimes develop when the parties’ expectations and obligations are misunderstood. Once a communication channel has been opened, these disagreements may be resolved amicably. The role of a mediator is not that of a judge or a decision-maker but rather that of a facilitator of agreements between disputing parties.

When Mediation Is a Good Option

When a relationship is at stake, mediation may be the best option. The ADR procedure to employ when family members, neighbors, or business partners disagree is mediation. Mediation is also helpful when emotions interfere with the ability to reach an agreement. A good mediator can listen to the parties and assist them in communicating. effectively and non-destructively.

The following are examples of some situations in which mediation is not recommended.

Mediation may be ineffective if one of the parties refuses to collaborate or compromise. If either one of the parties has a strong power advantage over the other, mediation may also be ineffective. As a result, if either party has a history of abuse or victimization, this may not be the best option.


It is the most formal ADR procedure and removes the parties’ ability to make their own decisions. The arbitrator judges the result of the dispute after hearing both sides’ arguments and evidence. Because of this, the rules of evidence in arbitration are more permissive than in court. Both “binding” and “nonbinding” arbitration are available. The parties agree to accept the arbitrator’s ruling as final and forego their right to a trial. Arbitrator’s decisions are generally final and cannot be appealed. Arbitration not binding on the parties implies that they can ask for a problem if they disagree with the arbitrator’s ruling.

When Arbitration Is a Good Option

When the parties want someone else to decide the resolution of their disagreement but prefer to save time and money by avoiding the formality, time, and price of a trial, arbitration is the ideal option. A decision-maker with expertise in the subject area of the dispute may also be suitable in more complicated cases.

The arbitration may not be appropriate in the following situations:

Arbitration, particularly binding arbitration, is inappropriate if the parties seek to retain control over their dispute resolution. Even if the facts or the law do not support the arbitrator’s decision, the parties in a binding arbitration cannot challenge it. In binding or non-binding arbitration, there may be consequences if a party asks for a trial and does not get a better outcome in practice than in arbitration.

Neutral Evaluation

During a neutral evaluation, each side presents its case to the other party, who then assesses the facts, arguments, and strategies presented by each party to determine whether or not the disagreement should be resolved.

This method works well when a specialized expert’s knowledge is required to resolve the conflict. It is common for an evaluator’s viewpoint to be utilized in negotiations. A specialist in a particular field can be invaluable in neutral evaluation instances when there are no substantial emotional or personal obstacles to a settlement.

The neutral evaluation may be appropriate in some situations. It is best to use unbiased evaluation when technical concerns demand specific skills or when the only major issue is damages. A neutral review may not be appropriate in certain situations. For example, an impartial appraisal may not be accepted if there are personal solid or emotional obstacles to settling the issue.

Settlement Conferences

In certain jurisdictions, settlement conferences are either optional or required. The court or a referee will meet with the parties to consider the possibility of a settlement. While the judge will not rule, they will help the parties assess their own cases’ strengths and weaknesses.

ADR Services Practiced in Pakistan

Traditional ADR and public bodies-based ADR have been practiced in Pakistan, respectively. Traditionally, this relates to the Panchayat and Jirga (in Punjab) systems. The term “panchayat” refers to a five-member government body. Elders who have earned the trust and respect of the villagers. These gatherings have long served as a forum for resolving interpersonal and community conflicts. Even though they are not legally enforceable, these verdicts are frequently used for disagreements inside a family. There are no efficient alternatives to lengthy and expensive legal procedures for Pakistani businesses to handle commercial issues, in other words. This system was suitable for basic situations but easily succumbed to elite capture regarding status quo concerns (in NWFP and Balochistan). 

Arbitration Councils, Union Councils, and Conciliation Courts are all in the general bodies-based ADR category. Divorce, second marriage authorization, and support for existing spouses were the only matters that Arbitration Councils could decide. Under the Muslim Family Law Ordinance 1961, Union Councils served as an arbitration venue for some family-related disputes (via elected councilors). The Conciliation Courts Ordinance of 1961 created a limited civil/criminal/pecuniary jurisdiction for conciliation courts. Local councils (which played a crucial part in various types of ADR) were frequently disbanded, making the majority of the initiatives above useless. Furthermore, no clear plans for improving the ability of members of these bodies were ever developed.

Arbitration, mediation, neutral evaluation, settlement conferences, and community dispute resolution programs are the most popular alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in civil matters.