Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanism, that is, through a variety of ways outside litigation, instead of litigation to solve disputes, also known as diversified dispute resolution mechanism, or called non-litigation dispute resolution mechanism, dispute resolution mechanism outside the court. It is the general name of all kinds of non-litigation dispute resolution methods, procedures or systems other than litigation trial systems that exist widely in the world today.
The system originated from the social reform movement to reshape harmonious interpersonal relations in the United States in the middle of the 20th century. At that time, the United States was in the stage of a “litigation explosion”, with serious court cases, high litigation costs, and delayed trial procedures. Many problems made the United States face a serious judicial crisis. Judicial crisis forces people to find a way out. People inject the ideological achievements of social reform into judicial reform and try to establish a variety of convenient and fast dispute resolution mechanisms. Therefore, the ADR system arises at the historic moment.
The dispute resolution mechanism of human society has been diversified since ancient times. However, in the long historical process, the social subject’s demand and understanding of this diversification has experienced a process from spontaneity to self-consciousness.
The forms of ADR systems in the world generally include:
First, mediation, that is, the parties to a dispute voluntarily submit their dispute to a mediator panel to facilitate the negotiation and reconciliation of the parties in an appropriate manner.
Second, negotiation, that is, the parties to a dispute reach a consensus and an agreement through information exchange.
Third, arbitration, that is, the parties based on consensus, submit the resulting dispute to a third party chosen by them together for adjudication.
Fourth, ADR attached to the court, such as arbitration attached to the court, mediation attached to the court, summary jury trial, etc.
In addition, many new forms of ADR are still being innovated, such as “online dispute resolution”, “early neutral assessment” and so on.
The main characteristics of ADR are
- The parties in the dispute have a high degree of autonomy, in which the party’s autonomy will play an important role.
- With greater flexibility, the parties can choose appropriate solutions and procedures according to the specific situation of the dispute.
- Dispute resolution is quick and cheap.
- The agreement and award (except the arbitration award) are not legally binding in general, but as the agreement is completely reached on the basis of friendly consultation between the two parties, it is generally easy to be recognized and consciously implemented by both parties.
- To resolve disputes in a non-adversarial and non-public manner. In this way, it is more conducive to maintaining the long-term economic and trade exchanges and interpersonal relations between the two parties, and helps to keep the personal privacy and business technology secrets of the parties.
Thus, ADR is an open and developing system with strong adaptability to novel civil disputes.