This article is being updated.

Oftentimes, it is in the interests of all parties to resolve disputes outside the Court system, as it is costly and generally quite slow when compared with litigation.  Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a term for methods to resolve disputes outside of the Court system, such as mediation and arbitration.

The ADR process is managed by trained professionals (Arbitrators and Mediators) who are lawyers who usually have a background in litigation.

The ADR process can come into effect in two predominant ways.

Commercial Contracts

In recent years it has become increasingly common for contracts to have clearly defined alternative dispute resolution processes.  ADR clauses can require negotiation, mediation, and/or arbitration to be undertaken to resolve any disputes between the parties before commencing court proceedings.

The aim of such contractual clauses is to not only resolve disputes in an equitable manner but to also do it in a relatively cost-effective way.

Orders of the Court

If a party has commenced litigation through courts in Queensland, a court can order the parties to undertake ADR pursuant to the Magistrates Court Act, the District Court Act and the Supreme Court Act.

Those powers are also contained in the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules (UCPR) for the Court to order the parties to take part in mediation or undertake a case appraisal process.