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Methods for resolving problems without going to court.

Any process that helps people put an end to their disputes is called dispute resolution. While courts have been a central feature of our public dispute resolution system for a long while, most disputes have traditionally been solved by consensus (agreement of the disputants) with the help of community and religious leaders, with no government intervention being necessary.

In recent years, as the courts have become more and more crowded, a number of alternative dispute resolution techniques (ADR) have arisen to aid people in solving their disagreements and getting on with their lives. And the courts themselves are increasingly relying on these techniques to clear their crowded calendars and help parties to solve their own problems.

The most common forms of alternative dispute resolution (sometimes referred to as appropriate dispute resolution) are mediation, arbitration, conciliation and a combination of mediation and arbitration called med-arb (in which the mediator will decide the issues for the parties if they fail to reach agreement in the mediation).