Arbitration & Mediation

What is ADR?

ADR was first used to describe "Alternative Dispute Resolution" though it is sometimes referred to as "Appropriate Dispute Resolution." The idea is that there can be effective alternatives to solving disputes through the courts.

Probably the most common forms of ADR are mediation and arbitration. Other processes that would also fall under ADR include conciliation, restorative justice, structured negotiation, neutral evaluation and many others.

Some of the hallmarks of all ADR processes are:

  • they are much less formal than court proceedings
  • they are designed to be less costly
  • they are more flexible and allow for the process to be tailored to the dispute, rather than forcing the dispute to conform to the customs or rules of the process


Arbitration is a process whereby parties in dispute may submit their disagreement to an impartial arbitrator or panel of arbitrators, who will make a binding decision or award, based on the merits of the case. There are many different types of disputes that routinely use arbitration, and the processes used can vary considerable.

Some common types of arbitration are labour grievances, contract disputes, setting renewal rents under commercial leases, salary arbitration in professional sports, setting wages for public servants, auto warranty claims, credit card disputes, and so on.

Arbitration is only available where a contract specifically refers a dispute to arbitration, or it is required by law, or where all of the parties to a dispute agree to bring the matter to arbitration.


Mediation is a process of structured or refereed negotiations, where a neutral mediator helps the disputing parties reach a settlement themselves. The mediator assists the parties in understanding and evaluating their claims. He or she works toward finding a common ground. Mediators do not have the authority to make a binding decision, but rather help the parties reach their own agreement which will be binding as a contract.