Are there other types of dispute resolution except for litigation?

What is dispute resolution?

Dispute resolution is a method of resolving disputes which you may have between yourself and some other party. There are several methods of dispute resolution; all of them have some advantages and disadvantages. Before you proceed to litigation you should consider those other types which in effect may represent a cheaper, faster and the most effective way than expensive litigation.


You decide to instruct a solicitor to act for you and on your behalf in a certain matter. A solicitor will lodge all necessary applications at the court and will fight for your case. The case will move to the court and a solicitor will make sure you get legal representation. Litigation is therefore a procedure at the court whereby the court or a judge decides the outcome of the matter concerned. Litigation can be civil (to resolve civil matters) and criminal (to resolve criminal matters). Civil litigation procedures are governed by Civil Procedure rules which have to be followed. Criminal is governed by Criminal Procedure Rules.


Is a type of dispute resolution used generally in commercial disputes. The parties usually agree that all disputes which will arise in relation to a certain matter will be resolved by arbitration. This will normally be set up as an agreement or contract in the from of an arbitration clause. It is common that the governing law of contract may however be different as the law under which arbitration will be resolved. Arbitration is a more private form of dispute resolution as opposed to the court where the hearing often takes place in the public. Therefore also all documents relating to arbitrated matter are confidential. The parties will usually choose the arbitrator how is often an expert within a specific field. The parties can organise the sittings themselves they are not bound by the dates as opposed to the court. Arbitration award can sometimes be easier to enforce and the decision is binding. Criminal matters are not usually resolved by arbitration. The most common contracts which contain arbitration clause are engineering, construction matters etc.

A person who conducts arbitration is an arbitrator and he is often also called a tribunal and he should be addressed as Sir or Madam. Arbitration may sometimes be called a reference. The parties’ names to arbitration are the Claimant and the Respondent. Arbitration is governed by the Arbitration Act 1996. The Act gives the arbitrator guidelines on how to conduct arbitration, namely to be impartial and fair, to try to avoid expense and delay an in all the circumstances to try to provide fair means for the resolution of the matters. Some of the procedures in the Act are not mandatory; they only apply if the parties fail to adopt their own procedures themselves. There are two types of arbitration, namely institutional and ad hoc arbitration.

Institutional Arbitration

The parties may agree to appoint an institution to appoint arbitration. Such arbitral institution however charges a fee and the parties are often forced to use the procedures of the institution and they are not free to adopt their own during arbitration proceedings.

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For more information on:

  • Ad hoc arbitration
  • ADR Alternative dispute resolution
  • Mediation
  • Med-arb
  • Expert determination
  • Case evaluation
  • Early neutral evaluation
  • Mini trial