Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms ( Adr )

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Within the Australian justice system, Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms (ADR) have historically been perceived as a means whereby parties can seek to resolve a variety of disputes, but in a non-judicial manner. As we move further into the 21st century, the rising costs associated with lengthy and often ineffective litigation, accompanied with a need to reduce burdens placed upon our legal system have allowed for a notable shift away from the courts as the primary means of dispute resolution, with a growing number of parties preferring ADR as the most appropriate means to bring about a more cooperative approach to legal matters. In the past, it has been largely up to the parties to identify the issues that are in dispute, which would then later be adjudicated in the appropriate court. Many scholars have strongly advocated in favour of adopting pre action requirements, whereby parties are encouraged to negotiate disputes prior to the commencement of litigation. Lord Wolff in his 1996 report into the UK justice system importantly notes that “the present system… is too expensive in that the costs often exceed the value of the claim; too slow in bringing cases to a conclusion and too unequal: there is a lack of equality between the powerful, wealthy litigant and the under-resourced litigant”. His recommendations, alongside several others have been given significant weight within Australia, with the Attorney General initiating the National Alternative Dispute Resolution
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