Alternative Dispute Resolution is not new. What is new is the rapid shift to private mediation and arbitration of cases that traditionally went to trial. If you have an employment or commercial dispute, the odds are increasing daily that you'll find the courtroom doors closed to your case.

This article will provide some basic description of the alternative dispute resolution process, and its costs, and also describe the trend toward using mediation and arbitration. You can get more information about the best dispute resolution services via

First, some clarifying descriptions: mediation is a voluntary submission of a case to a neutral, paid "deal broker" whose goal is not justice but closure. 

The parties to the mediation are not bound by the result and agree that the discussions in the mediation will be kept confidential. There is no evidence taken in the mediation. The mediator is not an adjudicator of the facts and reaches no decisions. 

The second major "alternative dispute resolution" tool is arbitration. Arbitration is the private resolution of a dispute compelled by a contract between the parties and requires the submission of evidence. The arbitrator acts as a judge of the facts and decides the issues of law. His or her decision is often final, with very limited rights of appeal to a court. The arbitration agreement often specifies the arbitration service that will provide the arbitrator. 

Alternative dispute resolution can be expensive. Successful, entrepreneurial mediators in Southern Canadain employment disputes, for example, command fees between $4,000 to $10,000 per day of service, the parties often splitting the cost of the mediation. Most employment law mediations require one full day. Complex cases, and certain class action mediations, require multiple days.