LEADR & IAMA are now one organisation. Over the coming weeks our websites will be updated to reflect this.

Benefits of ADR

  • An educative process where the parties can learn about each other's interests more clearly.
  • A model for conflict management from which the participants can generalise to future disputes.
  • Enhances the role of the participants by allowing them a relatively high degree of control over the process and outcomes suitable to their needs.
  • Reinforces the chances of a lasting agreement because: it is more likely to reflect the participant's needs; it is not imposed on them; and it is one in which they have invested time and effort.
  • Perceived as less threatening to the parties than either formal court processes.

When you are considering the range of possible conflict management options that can be employed in any situation, think carefully. There are at least five categories:

  • preventative
  • collaborative
  • facilitative
  • fact finding
  • advisory
  • mandatory

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is the name given to a varied collection of processes that have risen to prominence over the last twenty years and are seen as an “alternative” to traditional processes such as arbitration and adjudication. Most often it is a term associated with the process of mediation. Mediation is a voluntary process in which those involved in a dispute jointly explore and reconcile their differences. The mediator has no authority to impose a settlement. His or her strength lies in the ability to assist the parties in resolving their own differences. The mediated dispute is settled when the parties themselves reach what they consider to be a workable solution.

It is useful to briefly differentiate mediation from three other processes, which are closely related to it: negotiation, conciliation, and arbitration.

Mediation is distinguished from “negotiation” by the presence of a neutral third party whose principal function is to assist the parties to construct a process within which they can negotiate. In negotiation the parties to a dispute must reach an agreement themselves, through a process they themselves create.

In the conciliation process the third party may not necessarily be neutral as in mediation A conciliator is often used in tribunals and courts where rights are in issue. The conciliator will often have to ensure that the terms of the settlement are compatible with the relevant legislation or will actively introduce options for settlement for the parties to consider.

In arbitration both parties consent to the intervention of a third party whose judgment they must agree to accept beforehand.

Conflict Management Options

Option Definition Example
Preventative Used to pre-empt disputes. Usually designed in advance. Dispute management clause in a contract or policy document as part of partnering/consensus building.
Collaborative Parties come together to work on a problem or issue. Collaborative problem solving/negotiation.
Facilitating An impartial or neutral third party intervenes to assist the parties in dispute. Conciliation/mediation/arbitration ombudsperson.
Fact Finding/Advisory Case appraiser/ non-binding arbitration/expert appraisal. Conciliation/mediation/arbitration ombudsperson.
Mandatory Where a third party neutral makes a binding decision on the parties. Tribunal/court/binding arbitration.

ADR procedures are now widely accepted in Australia as a useful approach in a number of contexts including the resolution of commercial disputes. The Institute, as one of Australia’s oldest and most respected ADR organizations has been involved in many of these developments. The rationale for their introduction has included claims that they are empowering, less expensive, fairer and deal with a range of disputes not dealt with by traditional systems.

Resolution Institute acknowledges that the above definitions have been developed by the National ADR Advisory Council, now ADRAC. Find out more about ADRAC >>

The Historical Role of IAMA

Historically IAMA was committed to promoting, encouraging and facilitating the practice of resolution of disputes by all forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). IAMA's aim, as a non-profit organisation, was to serve the community, commerce and industry by facilitating efficient dispute resolution.