Using ADR Techniques for DLA Land and Maritime Contract Disputes

ADR refers to a wide array of dispute resolution techniques, often involving a neutral third party, that can assist disputing parties resolve disagreements. ADR provides the opportunity to settle disputes in a quick and inexpensive fashion while also maintaining or even building positive working relationships. ADR may be used to resolve the entire controversy or to resolve a portion of the controversy.

Some of the ADR techniques in use today include:

• Interest Based Negotiation or Interest Based Bargaining
• Early Neutral Evaluation
• Conciliation
• Facilitation
• Peer Review Panels or Dispute Resolution Panel
• Mediation
• Ombudsman
• Fact-finding
• Minitrial
• Mediation-Arbitration
• Summary Trial
• Early Intervention of Experienced Personnel
• Dispute Resolution Teams
• Partnering
• Settlement Conference
• Convening
• Litigation (with ADR)

Some of the more common ADR techniques used with contract disputes are:

• Mediation:
Mediation is a process which allows disputing parties to resolve the conflict themselves with the assistance of a neutral third party. The neutral, called a mediator, has no decision-making authority. Instead, the mediator structures negotiations between the disputants in order to create the opportunity for solutions.

The mediator acts as a catalyst, focuses discussions, facilitates exchanges, and serves as an assessor of positions taken by the parties. Mediation formats vary, but they typically involve the use of joint meetings and private sessions, called caucuses, to gain information and to develop and explore resolution options.

• Fact-finding:

Fact-finding is the investigation of "facts" in dispute by an impartial expert. This fact-finder independently investigates specified matters, and provides a written report of the findings to the parties and/or the forum of the dispute. Findings can be advisory or binding. Negotiations or litigation can be totally or partially suspended during the fact-finding process.

• Minitrial:

A minitrial is a structured settlement process in which disputing parties present a summary of its case before high level representatives who have settlement authority for the parties. Typically, a third party neutral oversees the presentations to maintain an orderly process. The third party neutral may provide advisory opinions to assist negotiations.

• Summary trial with binding decision:

A summary trial with binding decision is an abbreviated trial presided over by a judge or magistrate. Pre-trial, trial, and post-trial procedures are generally modified to expedite resolution. Decisions are quick and final, but have no precedential value.