Man has for years been subjected to litigation as the sole means of dispute resolution. At the end of the 1970’s, however, the concept of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) was formally established. This obviously caused a shift in the means of dispute resolution, with disputants having a choice on how they wanted their matters dealt with. In a recent incident, I was approached by a lady whose close friend made some defamatory statements against her. This was a friend she perceived as a sister and confidante. The aggrieved lady had a choice to seek redress in a court of law because of the gravity of the defamatory statements made against her.  With the production of evidence in the form of text messages, her matter was one which she could have easily won and handsomely compensated. On my advice, however, she declined to seek redress in a law court. I advised her to use ADR mechanism,  conciliation as a means of resolving the dispute; following a series of meetings the dispute was resolved amicably. The advantage in the use of ADR is the fact that, in most instances, parties come to a compromise, and in this case the parties were back to the strong friendship they once shared and have fortunately resolved all underlying frictions that existed prior to the defamatory statements.

When I first got involved in ADR, the sheer vigour, freedom and thoroughness of the alternative dispute resolution mechanism in the resolution of disputes was what struck me as the difference between litigation and ADR.  I learned about ADR in Great Britain, which has a rich legal system that has been adopted in many countries.