Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is often linked with better outcomes, more acceptable settlements and better understanding between the parties. But ADR is a very wide concept that encompasses many different practices.

Going to "ADR" is not a guarantee of a long-term agreement that is deeply rooted and acceptable to all. In arbitration or adjudication, the decision, although neutral and discussed with different points of views, will lead to an imposed solution the parties will have to abide by. 

Mediation is the only form of ADR that can provide a truly enlightened agreement. The Neutral does not take the decision, the parties - all of the parties - work together towards it. The mediator will help consider all risks, all possibilities, drive creativity and ensure that the settlement reached is satisfactory to all parties. This simple fact usually takes out the risk of someone retracting from the agreement or refusing its enforcement. As each party has engaged its responsibility and has been heard and taken into account in the final decision, respect is the guarantee, not fear of a jurisdiction.

Trust is a scarce resource in our society. Therefore, when we have the opportunity to build it or re-build it, we should give it a chance. The potential long-term benefits exceed by far the cost of trying, and even more the cost of not trying. 

Joachim Muller is the Business Development and Project Coordinator in the Skills & Training team at CEDR. Contact the Skills team on 020 7536 6070.