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In today’s complex world, disputes and conflicts are an inevitable part of human interaction. Traditionally, these conflicts have been resolved through litigation, where parties involved seek a resolution in a court of law. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a mechanism for out-of-court settlement. It is a method in which disputes are resolved without litigation. ADR regroups all processes and techniques of conflict resolution that occur outside of governmental authority or boundary.

ADR is a broad term that encompasses a variety of different processes. ADR provides an opportunity for parties to collaborate, communicate, and negotiate to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. It aims to empower the disputing parties to have more control over the process and outcome of their dispute while reducing the costs, time, and stress associated with litigation.


Mediation: Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process where a neutral third party, the mediator helps the disputing parties to reach an agreement. The mediator does not decide for the parties but rather helps them to communicate and negotiate a settlement that is agreeable to both sides. It empowers the parties to find creative solutions and preserve their relationships.

Conciliation: It is a form of Alternate Dispute Resolution where parties to a dispute hire a conciliator to help with the disputes or issues individually. The conciliator does not decide for the parties but rather helps them to communicate and negotiate a settlement that is agreeable to both sides. Conciliation is similar to mediation, but there are some key differences. In mediation, the mediator is not allowed to make suggestions or recommendations to the parties. In conciliation, the conciliator is allowed to make suggestions and recommendations, but the parties are not obligated to follow them.

Arbitration: Arbitration is a process in which a neutral third party, called an arbitrator, hears the arguments of both sides and makes a decision about the dispute. Unlike mediation, arbitration results in a decision imposed by a third party. However, it still offers a more streamlined and less formal process compared to litigation. The arbitrator’s decision is binding which means the parties are obligated to follow it.

Negotiation: Negotiation is a process in which disputing parties discuss the issue and try to reach an agreement on their own. It allows the parties to discuss their interests, concerns, and potential solutions, aiming for a mutually beneficial agreement. Negotiation can take place informally or with the assistance of legal counsel. Negotiation can take place informally or with the assistance of legal counsel.

Judicial Settlement: This is another form of Alternative Dispute Resolution given under Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure. In this method, a judge facilitates the settlement of a dispute between the parties. The judge does not decide for the parties but rather helps them to communicate and negotiate a settlement that is agreeable to both sides.

LOK Adalat: LOK Adalat is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) that is available in India. This is a very old method and also has a historical background. Lok Adalats are informal courts that are set up to resolve disputes quickly, fairly, and affordably. The first Lok Adalats were conducted as far back as 1982 in Una village of Junagadh (Gujrat). Adalats also recognize cases within their jurisdiction that are pending in regular courts. Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure also provides for the appeal to the Lok Adalat of pending Civil disputes. When the matter is referred to the Lok Adalat then it will follow the provisions of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987. The holding of Lok Adalat is governed by Section 19 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.


Cost-Effective: ADR methods are mostly cost-effective since they require fewer formal procedures, lower legal fees, and reduced court expenses. Parties can save money by avoiding lengthy court battles and the need for extensive documentation.

Speed: ADR can be often faster than litigation. This is because ADR processes are typically less formal and there is less paperwork involved.

Confidentiality: Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is more confidential than litigation. This is because the proceedings are typically closed to the public and the records are often sealed.

Flexibility: Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is more flexible than litigation. This means that the parties have more control over the process and the outcome.

Satisfaction: Parties who use ADR are often more satisfied with the outcome than parties who go to court. This is because ADR allows the parties to have a greater say in the outcome and because it is often less adversarial than litigation.

Customized solutions: ADR methods allow parties to craft tailored solutions that meet their specific needs and interests. Unlike court-imposed judgments, ADR agreements are flexible and can address not only legal issues but also underlying emotional, financial, and practical concerns                    


Alternative Dispute Resolution provides an array of advantages over traditional litigation. ADR offers a viable alternative for resolving conflicts in a manner that fosters constructive outcomes and preserves relationships. Whether it is through mediation, arbitration, or negotiation, ADR empowers parties to take control of their disputes and find mutually beneficial solutions. As we continue to navigate a complex and interconnected world, embracing alternative methods of resolving conflicts becomes increasingly crucial for achieving justice, harmony, and a more peaceful society. The ADR movement must be encouraged to evolve at a faster pace. This will significantly lessen the burden on the courts, in addition to offering immediate justice at the doorstep at a low cost. If they are implemented fully, they will truly achieve the purpose of providing social justice to the disputants.

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