Alternative Dispute Resolution FAQ

Jane Lambert

5 Jan 2017

What is ADR?
Alternative dispute resolution ("ADR") means settling a dispute without going to court.

Give me some examples
The most common way of settling a dispute is for the parties to discuss it constructively. That usually involves exchanging information and concessions. That is called negotiation.

Sometimes the parties need a neutral to facilitate the negotiation. That is called mediation. The neutral (who is called the mediator) is often better placed than the parties to spot a solution to the dispute because he or she is trained in dispute resolution techniques and receives information from the parties that they would never exchange with each other.

Occasionally, mediation cannot work because the parties need a finding of facts or law from a trusted third party. That may be a judge appointed by the state or it may be someone who is appointed by the parties themselves. A party who is appointed by the parties to determine a dispute between them is known as an arbitrator. An arbitrator differs from a mediator in that the arbitrator makes a decision whereas a mediator helps the parties to reach agreement.

Two other forms of dispute resolution that are used frequently in intellectual property disputes are the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy for the resolution of generic and many country code top level domain name disputes and Intellectual Property Office examiners' opinions.

What are the advantages of ADR?

It is usually quicker and cheaper than court proceedings and often private which makes it easier for the parties to keep or repair relations with each other after the dispute is resolved. The parties appoint a tribunal of their choice who may have a better knowledge of their business and industry than a judge. They can also choose the rules and procedures by which their dispute is to be resolved.

What about the disadvantages?

The parties have to pay for the venue and its facilities as well as the arbitrator, mediator's or panellist's fee. The arbitrator may be less knowledgeable or experienced on the law, evidence or procedure than a judge. Many of the procedural safeguards are dispensed with. If a party disputes a decision its rights of appeal are usually limited.

Can you help me resolve my dispute without going to court?

Yes in three ways.

I can draft or review an agreement to refer a dispute to arbitration, mediation either before or after the dispute arises.

I can advise or represent you in negotiations, mediation or some other form of alternative dispute resolution before the dispute arises.

I can act as your mediator or arbitrator if you and the other parties agree. I am a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization and Consensus Mediation panels.

How much would you charge?

It depends on how much work would be required and the sum of money or the value of the property at stake. Before I begin work I would agree a fixed fee or transparent charging basis so that you can budget.

How do I instruct you?

As a first step you call me on + 44 (0)20 7404 5252 during office hours or use my contact form.

Further Reading

15 Jul 2017       Domain Name Disputes
 7 Apr 2013      The IPO's New Improved Mediation Service - will it make a difference?
4 June 2012      The End of Mediation?
2 Oct 2009       Practice: Mediation in the IPO
22 Aug 2006    ADR of Intellectual Property Disputes
2 March 2006  Patent Office Mediation Service
13 Feb 2006    Mediation: Andrew Fraley
1 Sep 2005      Mediating Disputes from the Trade Marks Registry

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