In some cases, alternative litigation is possible if disputes can be settled by discussion and negotiation rather than going to court. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is the formal name for this legal procedure.
Settlements, in this case, may be reached via various informal means, including conferencing, mediation, arbitration, or through collaborative law. ADR also has deadlines that may influence your chances to pursue justice. Civil litigation attorneys in Texas can help you better understand the alternatives for litigation in your case and any limitations that may apply.
Ways to Keep Dispute out of Court
Most people believe alternative dispute resolution is the method of resolving a disagreement by other means than litigation. However, this is only true if litigation includes cases that go to trial and lawsuits that are settled before they reach court.
This is critical knowledge to have for two reasons. The vast majority of cases are handled without the need for a trial; most cases are resolved before a judge or jury ever hears evidence. Second, the combative attitude that results from bringing a lawsuit, even if it is settled before trial, further complicates the matter.
Some alternative dispute resolution techniques are more suited to some circumstances than others. You will need an attorney to help you figure out the right choice for you. The types of ADR available in Texas law are:
Mediation in a court setting involves a third-party facilitator or mediator who helps the parties communicate and work together toward a settlement. The mediator’s role is to help the parties identify the core issue, improve their ability to communicate, and come up with befitting solutions.
Mediation sessions are not as formal as a court appearance. They are informal and carried out in the presence of lawyers and clients. There is also no fixed timeline; mediation can occur at any time during the litigation process.
Arbitrators examine factual and legal arguments from each party involved in the dispute at a hearing attended by lawyers and their clients. If the session is successful, the parties may agree to a binding ruling and have the court officially rule in favor of the winner.
It is common practice for arbitration to occur once at least one primary discovery has been concluded. In contrast to mediation, an arbitration hearing is formal, even though witnesses are seldom summoned, and the rules of evidence are often relaxed.
Early Neutral Evaluation
A neutral third-party evaluator hears arguments from both sides and provides a nonbinding evaluation based on the merits of each side. The private session is also attended by lawyers and their clients. The evaluator is often a lawyer familiar with the field and may advise the parties during settlement negotiations or help them craft a strategy for conducting discovery.
Each party in a mini-trial delivers a condensed version of their case before mediators or judges. A neutral third person may be brought in to preside over the meeting and help negotiate a compromise after both sides have presented their arguments.
The objective is to present the case to the decision-makers on each side, such as high-ranking executives of business parties who may be unfamiliar with the details.
Summary Jury Trial
In most cases, this ADR is used after the discovery phase has concluded. Here, in the presence of a judge and a jury, each side presents a condensed version of their case, often relying on evidence instead of witnesses.
A jury’s advisory judgment might be a starting point for settlement talks or evidence in a subsequent trial.
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Why Is ADR Preferred Over Litigation?
Litigation is usually not the only go-to option, as alternative dispute resolution techniques may also help you seek justice. In some cases, ADR is preferred over litigation as it helps save resources. If you are unsure about the best option in your case, The Buzbee Law Firm lawyers can help you make an informed decision.
Here are the advantages of opting for ADR over traditional litigation:
Faster Dispute Settlements
One of the motivations behind the ADR concept was the desire to shorten the time it takes to resolve legal disputes. Victims settling their cases in other ways than through litigation helps ease the caseload for courts.
Relationship and Monetary Benefits
Alternative dispute resolution can be less costly than traditional litigation. It also helps parties settle their differences without resorting to hostile behavior against one another, which may be detrimental to business and personal relationships.
Safeguarding Sensitive Information
Even if one party seeks a protective order to prevent the other from disclosing confidential information, such an order exposes the information to public view. By using alternative dispute resolution techniques, the parties may settle their differences while keeping sensitive information secure.
Custom to Specific Needs
Through ADR, the parties may create a procedure for resolving their disagreement tailored to their needs. The procedure’s framework and information-sharing methods can be decided by the parties involved.
Most Cases Are Uncontested
Awards are final and can’t be appealed. Arbitral awards are not usually open to appeal, in contrast to court verdicts, which may often be questioned via one or more rounds of litigation.