Go not for every grief to the physician, nor for every quarrel to the lawyer, nor for every thirst to the pot. - George Herbert (1593 - 1633)
Given we always have much less that we ideally want, dispute is inevitable. Without dispute resolution we would have a big problem before us. As Mahatma Gandhi had reminded us, an eye for an eye makes everyone blind. We can either go to the courts and get a legal resolution, or we can go for an ‘out of court settlement’.
Dispute resolution is the process of resolving disputes between parties. While disputes have been and can be resolved through war and violence, they are also destructive, and may at times give rise to even more problems. The term dispute resolution, however, includes only non-violent methods of resolution, and can fall in either of two types: adjudicative, as in a court of law where an objective adjudicator decides outcome; or consensual processes which might include arbitration, conciliation and mediation. In some contexts it is only the latter sense of non-judicial alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that is usually understood by the term. ADR usually depends upon the acceptance by both parties of the agreement, whether they be individuals, business entities, government agencies. In essence, ADR is diplomacy at a sub-state level where disputes are sought to be settled through compromise, give-and-take and plain common sense via negotiation, meetings or other procedures, rather than go to war or the courts, either of which can be costly and destructive. Today, technological innovation has enabled dispute resolution over networks as well (the process being called ‘Online Dispute Resolution’).
In this section of the directory, we provide links to various resources on dispute resolution, from guidelines, to authorities and agencies involved in ADR.