In today’s modern world, most of the population knows the problems which face our civil justice system are not unique to India but there is little knowledge about what is happening in the rest of the world.

In the United States, the ADR movement, launched in the 1970s 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. The legal ADR movement has only increased since then, evolving from an experiment to gaining institutionalization along with the support of the America Bar Association, academics, courts, the US Congress and State Government. The decade of 1990 has proven to be the most productive decade in the ADR movement. The success started when the Congress passed the Civil Justice Reform Act, 1990 that required the judicial to develop plans that would help reduce cost and delay in civil litigation. Following that, in the same year the Congress required the Executive Branch to consider ADR as well, passing the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act, 1990. The Congress re-enacted this act in 1996, around 5 years after its expiry. Now it is a permanent law.

This is an Act to amend title 28 of the United States code, with respect to use of alternative dispute resolution processes in United State District Courts and for other 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 the potential to reduce the large backlog of cases that are currently 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 a clear leader in its field. Since the time it was founded, it has administered more than 1.7 million cases and most of them were arbitrations. Today, the association that has been reached is 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. Another factor that posed many challenges and opportunities for dispute resolution was electronic commerce.

The creation of multi-door court houses in the United Sates is truly one of most significant developments arising out of the relationship between ADR procedures and the court system. Next came mediations, followed by negotiation; and at the minimum involvement end was 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 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. Post this, a preliminary analysis of the case will be made to be able to recommend which dispute resolution process is suitable to resolve it. Various criteria are applied like the kind of issues involved, the kind of compensation that is likely to be awarded if successful, whether rights need be protected and what service are available. The enquiring party is then advised about the processes that might be appropriate to the case and its relevant referral details, which may be departments within the court, or may perhaps be outside agencies.