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What is ADR?

Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR is an umbrella term for processes, other than judicial determination, in which an impartial person (an ADR practitioner) assists those in a dispute to resolve the issues between them. ADR is commonly used as an abbreviation for alternative dispute resolution, but can also mean assisted or appropriate dispute resolution. The main types of ADR are mediation, arbitration and conciliation.

ADR processes may be facilitative, advisory, determinative or, in some cases, a combination of these. The ADR practitioner in a facilitative process, such as mediation, uses a variety of methods to assist parties to identify issues and reach an agreement about the dispute. Advisory processes, such as conciliation or expert appraisal, employ a practitioner to more actively advise the parties about the issues and range of possible outcomes. A process can be selected to best suit a particular dispute.

There is currently no comprehensive legislative framework for the operation of ADR in Australia. Many different laws govern the operation of ADR in the different Australian jurisdictions. This definition of ADR is taken from the NADRAC website.