Alternative Dispute Resolution

A procedure for settling a dispute outside the courtroom. Most forms of ADR are not binding on the parties, and involve referral of the case to a neutral party such as an arbitrator or mediator.

Additional Sources

Answers.com

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a term that refers to several different (but philosophically linked) methods of resolving business-related disputes outside traditional legal and administrative forums. These methodologies, which include various types of arbitration and mediation, have surged in popularity in recent years because companies and courts became extremely frustrated over the expense, time, and emotional toll involved in resolving disputes through the usual avenues of litigation. "The opposing sides in litigation are attacked and demeaned at every opportunity during the course of a lawsuit," pointed out Wayne Hoagland in Nation's Restaurant News. "The system is very expensive, disruptive and protracted, and by its very nature it tends to drive the parties further apart, weakening their relationships, often irreparably." ADR programs emerged as an alternative, litigation-free method of resolving business disputes.

Duhaime Legal Dictionary

Also known as 'ADR'; methods by which legal conflicts and disputes are resolved privately and other than through litigation in the public courts, usually through one of two forms: mediation or arbitration.

It typically involves a process much less formal than the traditional court process and includes the appointment of a third-party to preside over a hearing between the parties.

FindLaw

A forum or means for resolving disputes (as arbitration or private judging) that exists outside the state or federal judicial system.

Lawyers.com

A forum or means for resolving disputes (as arbitration or private judging) that exists outside the state or federal judicial system

The Free (Legal) Dictionary

Procedures for settling disputes by means other than litigation; e.g., by Arbitration, mediation, or minitrials. Such procedures, which are usually less costly and more expeditious than litigation, are increasingly being used in commercial and labor disputes, Divorce actions, in resolving motor vehicle and Medical Malpractice tort claims, and in other disputes that would likely otherwise involve court litigation.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, many people became increasingly concerned that the traditional method of resolving legal disputes in the United States, through conventional litigation, had become too expensive, too slow, and too cumbersome for many civil lawsuits (cases between private parties). This concern led to the growing use of ways other than litigation to resolve disputes. These other methods are commonly known collectively as alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

As of the early 2000s, ADR techniques were being used more and more, as parties and lawyers and courts realized that these techniques could often help them resolve legal disputes quickly and cheaply and more privately than could conventional litigation. Moreover, many people preferred ADR approaches because they saw these methods as being more creative and more focused on problem solving than litigation, which has always been based on an adversarial model.

Wikipedia

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) (also known as External Dispute Resolution in some countries, such as Australia[1]) includes dispute resolution processes and techniques that fall outside of the government judicial process. Despite historic resistance to ADR by both parties and their advocates, ADR has gained widespread acceptance among both the general public and the legal profession in recent years. In fact, some courts now require some parties to resort to ADR of some type, usually mediation, before permitting the parties' cases to be tried. The rising popularity of ADR can be explained by the increasing caseload of traditional courts, the perception that ADR imposes fewer costs than litigation, a preference for confidentiality, and the desire of some parties to have greater control over the selection of the individual or individuals who will decide their dispute.