Resolving disputes in alternative ways

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) includes a variety of different methods. These include arbitration, mediation and adjudication.
  • Methods such as these can be used instead of litigation (court proceedings), or may be used as well as litigation.

Our disputes team is highly experienced in all of these alternative dispute resolution methods and can look at the individual circumstances of your dispute to advise on the best suited options available to you.

Main types of alternative dispute resolution:


Mediation is a process entered into voluntarily by both parties in the dispute. A mediator, who is an independent third party who has no connection to those involved in the dispute, is there to help the parties find a settlement by negotiating over the issue(s) to find a solution that both parties are satisfied with. Mediation is a confidential process that enables those involved in the dispute to find a settlement in a way that couldn’t be imposed by court proceedings or arbitration.

A common benefit of mediation is that it often allows the two parties involved to continue with a business relationship even after this dispute has been resolved, which is less likely with some of the other routes. Mediation can be entered into as an alternative to arbitration or court proceedings, or at any stage of these processes if it is considered that it could be helpful.


Arbitration is another private process that can be an alternative to going to court. Essentially, the arbitrator, who is a nominated experienced independent person, is given the authority to make a decision on the dispute by both parties, once they have heard all sides of the case.

This can be very beneficial if the dispute has some specialist or technical elements that an experienced arbitrator would have a good working knowledge of, which wouldn’t necessarily be available in a court.

Expert determination

In the case of a disputed contract, the parties involved can appoint an expert that they are both happy with who will make a decision on the dispute. Both parties agree ahead of time that the expert’s decision on the matter is final, and they will abide by the result. This kind of dispute resolution can be useful for issues of a technical nature due to the expert involved.

This process is considered not to be as flexible as mediation can be, but usually costs less and can be resolved more quickly than mediation or going to court.

Our expert team work across our offices in London, Richmond, Southampton, Guildford, Lymington and Woking and we offer specialist support and advice to clients nationwide.