A brief guide to Alternative Dispute Resolution

Courts now actively encourage parties to consider ‘ADR’ as a means to settle their differences without having to resort to potentially costly and time-consuming court proceedings. Here is a brief guide.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) takes several forms, the following being the most common:

  • MEDIATION: a neutral third party helps the two sides work towards a mutually acceptable solution. They will often place less emphasis on the legalities than the Courts and will focus instead on the commercial / financial realities. The mediator cannot impose an agreement, but any agreement reached is legally binding.
  • ARBITRATION: commercial contracts will often specify arbitration as the mandatory first resort for resolving disputes, but you can enter into it voluntarily. An impartial third party will review the evidence and impose their decision on the two parties. Generally this is legally binding unless both parties agree otherwise – and it is enforceable through the Courts.

Advantages and disadvantages of ADR


  • The parties can choose a suitably experienced arbitrator or mediator, but cannot choose the judge in Court.
  • ADR is often faster and cheaper than litigation.
  • ADR can often resolve wider issues than the Courts can, such as grievances / misunderstandings between the parties which are not necessarily part of the claim.
  • ADR awards are confidential and legally binding.


  • ADR requires a spirit of compromise that may not be present on both sides.
  • Awards are confidential so unlike Court action you cannot use it as a public deterrent to others.
  • ADR is not useful when you need to force someone to do, or refrain from doing, something immediately.
  • Referring a case to ADR does not stop the clock on statutory time limits for bringing a case to Court.
  • ADR can increase your total costs if a resolution cannot be found.

If you would like to discuss a commercial or personal dispute and the options you have, including ADR, please get in touch.

I have been practising in the debt recovery sector for over 30 years and joined Verisona Law in May 2012. We set up the debt recovery team the following February.

I have extensive experience of dealing with and advising on commercial and consumer matters from pre-legal action and the issuing of proceedings through to enforcement of Judgments, bankruptcy and winding up. 

The debt recovery team acts for businesses across all sectors including manufacturing, service providers and construction, as well as for individuals. 

Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives

Jackie has previously acted for national and international clients in a wide range of sectors including IT, vehicle finance, insurance and debt purchase.

Jackie was awarded Credit Today Litigation Specialist of the Year 2003

  • Commercial and consumer claims from the issue of proceedings to Judgment
  • Enforcement of Judgments by Writ of Fi Fa, Orders to attend Court for questioning, Attachment of Earnings, Third Party Debt Orders, Charging Orders and Orders for sale
  • Bankruptcy and winding up proceedings
  • Debt purchase
  • Recruitment
  • Independent schools
  • SME businesses