Forms of dispute resolution other than the courts of law.

Negotiation: this is an alternative dispute resolution mechanism which involves the process of interaction between disputing parties and without compulsion a 3rd party
adjudicator, the parties endeavour to come to an interdependent joint decision concerning the terms of agreement on the issues between them. It enables disputing parties come to an agreeable and acceptable settlement, usually a compromise. It proceeds through exchange of information therepermitting a learning process which each party formulates modifies and readjusts expectations, preferences and proposals.

Mediation: this is a dispute resolution mechanism in which a neutral and impartial third party assists disputing parties to negotiate an acceptable settlement of contested issues to avoid or overcome an impasse or if the parties are unable to negotiate.

  • It is merely the intervention into a dispute or negotiation an acceptable, impartial and neutral third party with no authoritative decision making power. It is facilitated negotiation.
  • The mediator assists the parties to reach their own agreement.
  • It is the least intrusive form of third party involvement in a dispute.

Arbitration: this is a method of settlement of civil disputes out of court arbitrators or arbitral tribunals that make arbitral awards. A dispute may be referred to arbitration the disputing parties, statute or a court of law. Arbitrators may be appointed the parties, a 3rd party of a court of law on application. Arbitrators enjoy certain powers;

  • An arbitral award may be set aside a court of law in application.
  • The law on arbitration is contained in the Arbitration Act, 1995.

Tribunals: these are bodies created statute to adjudicate specific disputes. The exercise judicial or Quasi judicial functions, examples include industrial court licensing
boards, committees etc. These bodies enjoy certain advantages over ordinary courts e.g. cheap, speed, informality, flexibility convenience, specialization etc.
Mini trial: this is a dispute resolving hybrid process that structures private negotiation combining elements of negotiation, mediation, and adjudication in a new way. It first developed in California. The parties to the dispute appoint an experienced person to preside at a two day information exchange. Each party presents its case. Officials from both sides confer to evaluate the case and come to a settlement, failing which the presiding officer gives his view of how the case would be resolved in court. The parties discuss the case and if there is no settlement the case goes back to court.
Med-Arb – this is a dispute resolution mechanism wherean arbitrator acts as a mediator in a single dispute.
Rent-a-judge (private judge):this is a situation where arbitration employs experienced persons e.g. retired judge to arbitrate difficult cases.
Summary jury trial
Neutral expert fact finding.

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