It is well established now, that the problems which face our civil justice system are not unique in India. But there is much we can learn from what happened elsewhere.

In the United States, the ADR movement which was launched in the 1970’s began as a social movement to resolve community wide civil rights dispute through negotiation to resolve differences conducted by some impartial party, and as a legal movement to address increased delay and expense in litigation arising from an overcrowded court system. Ever since, the legal ADR movement in the United States has grown rapidly, and has evolved from experimentation to the institutionalization with the support of the America bar Association, academics, courts, the U.S. Congress and the state Government. The 1990’s have been the most productive decade in the history for government ADR. The decade of success began when congress passed the CIVIL JUSTICE REFORM ACT, 1990, which required judicial branch to develop plans to reduce cost and delay in civil litigation. That same year congress required the Executive Branch to consider ADR as well, passing the ADMINISTRATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION ACT, 1990. The congress re-enacted the ADMINISTRATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION ACT in 1996 when it had expired after 5 years. Now it is a permanent law.

This is an Act to amend title 28 of United States code, with respect to use of alternative dispute resolution processes in United State District Courts and for others purposes. The objective of this Act is:

  • ADR when supported by bench and bar, and utilizing properly trained neutrals in a program adequately administered by the court, has the potential to provide a variety of benefits, including greater satisfaction of the parties, innovative methods of resolving disputes, and greater efficiency in achieving settlements.
  • Certain forms of alternative dispute resolution may have potential to reduce the large backlog of cases now pending in some federal courts throughout the United States, thereby allowing the courts to process their remaining cases more efficiently.
  • The continued growth of federal appellate court annexed mediation programs suggests that this form of alternative dispute resolution can be equally effective in resolving disputes in the Federal trial courts; therefore, the district courts should consider local ADR programs.

The American Arbitration Association is the largest provider of dispute resolution service in the world and the clear leader in its field. From its founding until today, it has administrated more than 1.7 million cases, most of them being arbitration. The association reached today is truly global. It has 54 cooperative agreements with 39 nations, offering multinational corporations access to familiar, reliable and enforceable dispute resolution services in all of their offshore transactions. While ADR has experienced a remarkable growth in U.S. during the past 2 decades, online settlement is the latest trend that adds a new dimension to the process of conflict resolution. The WIPO International Conference on dispute Resolution in electronic Commerce was organized by the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre in cooperation with the London Court of international Arbitration , Dispute Resolution Section of the American Bar association(ABA), the Singapore subordinate courts and the Swiss Arbitration Association(ASA), Mr. Francis Gurry, WIPO Assistant Director General said that the demand for ADR was increasing greatly in response to the growing volume of transactions in the digital economy. Electronic commerce presented a series of challenges and opportunities for dispute resolution.

One of the significant developments arising out of the relationship between ADR procedures and the court system has been the creation in the United States of multi-door court houses. Mediation came next, followed by negotiation; and at the minimum involvement end he put avoidance (an approach he describes as clearly undesirable).

The multi-door courthouse has been tested in practice in several States notably in the District of Columbia, and other parts of United States such as New Jersey, Houston and Philadelphia and a number States now offer multi-door court programs. Several federal district courts such as California Northern also provide litigants with an array of ADR options.

The State Court programs enable a member of the public to contact the court in person or by telephone, with a complaint or a dispute. A preliminary analysis will then be made of the case in order to be able to recommend which dispute resolution process is suitable to resolve it. Various criteria applied, including for example. The kind of issues involved, what kind of compensation is likely to be awarded if successful, whether rights need be protected and what service are available. The inquiring party is then advised about the processes that might be most appropriate to the case and its relevant referral details, which may be departments within the court, or may perhaps be outside agencies.



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