Alternative dispute resolution in business

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Alternative ways of resolving disputes

  • ADR offers a range of methods, including mediation, arbitration and adjudication.
  • These are either used instead of litigation or as well as litigation.
  • Our business dispute lawyers have extensive experience of ADR and will advise on the best approach for you.

What is alternative business dispute resolution?

Alternative business dispute resolution refers to methods of resolving disputes between businesses outside of traditional litigation, such as mediation, arbitration, and negotiation. These methods are often faster, less expensive, and more flexible than going to court, and can help parties reach mutually beneficial solutions.

David Foster

David Foster

Partner | Business dispute resolution, Dispute resolution

01483 464243

What are the main alternative dispute resolution methods for businesses?


This is a voluntary process in which a mediator (an independent third party) will help the parties reach a negotiated settlement. The process is confidential. Also, the process allows the parties to reach a solution that a court or arbitrator could not impose. Mediation often has the benefit of enabling the parties to maintain their business relationship. You can choose to mediate instead of going to court/arbitration, or you can have a mediation at any stage of the court/arbitration process.


Arbitration can offer significant benefits, including the ability to appoint an arbitrator with suitable expertise to deal with the dispute. This is especially useful if your dispute has a technical element. Arbitration is also private, so it helps keep your dispute out of the public domain.

Expert determination

Parties to a contract can agree to appoint an expert to determine the dispute. The expert’s decision is final. This is another useful approach for technical disputes. Expert determination is less flexible than mediation, but is generally quicker and cheaper than litigation or arbitration.


This is frequently used in construction disputes. It is a ‘pay now, argue later’ mechanism. It is designed to prevent one party coercing the other into an unfair settlement by withholding payment.

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Commercial disputes legal guide

Explore our brief guide to commercial dispute resolution and discover how we can help you and your business. 


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