Has ADR improved access to justice as promised? If not, what remains to be done?

Has ADR improved access to justice as promised? If not, what remains to be done?



Author: Mr. Gautam Matani,

LLM from School of Law, University of Leeds, England.


The introductory stage of the civil justice system is a public good that serves more than private interests. The common courts contribute unobtrusively and fundamentally to social and financial prosperity. They have impact as in we live in a deliberate society where there are rights and assurances, and that these rights and insurances can be made great. In social orders administered by the principle of law, the courts give the group’s barrier against self-assertive government activity. They advance social request and encourage the serene determination of debate. In distributed their choices, the courts convey and strengthen metro qualities and standards. Above all, the common courts support financial action. Law is critical to the working of business sectors. Contracts between outsiders are conceivable in light of the fact that rights are reasonably designated inside a known lawful structure and are enforceable through the courts on the off chance that they are ruptured. Flourishing economies rely on upon a solid express that will secure property rights and speculations.

A focal issue for the English government since the mid-1980s has been the financial upliftment  of legal aid and, specifically, criminal lawful guide[1]. Since its foundation in 1949, the hidden motivation behind civil legal aid has been to ensure access to justice so that the feeble and frail can secure their rights similarly as the solid and intense. In the criminal justice setting, legitimate representation is viewed as important to guarantee reasonableness for residents indicted by the state with the majority of its assets. The historical backdrop of legal aid expenditure use has been of slow and after that exponential increments and the expansion in the legal aid bill, which had been rising relentlessly all through the 1980s, by the mid-1990s had begun to look uncontrollable. That was not helped by criminal justice arrangement including a broad criminal justice policy, more prominent accentuation on discovery and implementation, advancement of more grounded wrongdoing control strategies and accentuation on custodial sentences. In spite of the fact that these approaches might be altogether proper for criminal justice goals, in a settled justice spending plan that needs to oblige both the increasing expense of criminal justice objectives, and the common justice system such arrangements will unavoidably place pressure on resources for civil justice.[2]

The review of English civil justice completed by Lord Woolf and his consultants was directed quickly. Just a year after the audit was propelled an Interim Report was distributed giving an investigation of “The Problems and Their Causes” and a blueprint of the principle proposals for change.’ The examination reasoned that while the issues of cost, postponement and many complexities in civil justice were linked together, the chief reason for the weaknesses of the civil justice system was to be found in the conduct of legal advisors and their antagonistic strategies. The proposed arrangement included legal case administration and measures to advance early settlement. After a year, the Final Report’ was distributed together with a brought together arrangement of Civil Procedure Rules for the area courts and High Court. While the Final Report gave more prominent point of interest on the proposed changes, the major methodology and new structure stayed unaltered. [3]

The answer for the issues of civil justice system, in this manner, lay in legal case administration, proportionate and apportioned systems, entirely upheld timetables, more noteworthy co-operation, prior settlements, and solid weight to intervene connected through costs sanctions. Members of the judiciary become case managers in charge of proportioning technique, guided by standards of proficiency, uniformity of arms, and undertaking. In the “new landscape” of civil justice, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) was to have a focal position. A crucial reason of the Final Report was that court procedures ought to be issued if all else fails, that all cases ought to be settled as quickly as time permits, and that ADR ought to be attempted prior and then afterward the issue of court procedures keeping in mind the end goal to accomplish early settlement. While the 1995 Interim Report gave support to prosecutors to consider utilizing ADR, the tone was more mandate in the 1996 Final Report which cautions that: “The court will encourage the use of ADR at case management conferences and pre-trial reviews, and will take into account whether the parties have unreasonably refused to try ADR or behaved unreasonably in the course of ADR.”[4]

ADR was promoted because in light of the fact that it was esteemed to have the advantage of saving scarce judicial resources, and on the grounds that it was accepted to offer advantages to prosecutors or potential defendants by being less expensive than suit and creating snappier results. The quality of the conviction that the public should be trying mediation rather than litigation was given expression in the Civil Procedure Rules, which presented on the court the power to request gatherings to endeavor to settle their case utilizing ADR and the judge the ability to deny a gathering of their legitimate expenses if, in the court’s view, the party has behaved unreasonably during the course of the litigation.[5]

Concern to improve access to justice originated from an acknowledgment by numerous in the legitimate enclosure that the liberal case of a justice system that guaranteed ‘fairness in the witness of the law’ was a negligible formal right with little substance and viable impact. In the mid 1970s, Cappelletti and Garth reviewed access to justice developments crosswise over numerous western industrialized nations and recognized three waves in the entrance to justice movement. The primary wave tended to monetary matters and looked to give subjects legal intends to look for justice through lawful guide plans. The second wave concentrated on authoritative matters that encouraged class activities and remaining in an agent limit. The third wave was procedural and incorporated the improvement of a scope of ADR processes. Since then, numerous countries have endeavored to actualize changes to their civil justice systems. Problems recognized in the operation of civil justice systems incorporate high costs, delay, instability, discontinuity and the ill-disposed nature of suit. A part of the entrance to justice movement was the foundation of question determination establishments.[6]

In 2008, the government Attorney-General asked for the National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council (NADRAC) to investigate how to support more noteworthy utilization of ADR in common procedures. The Attorney-General was especially worried about the ‘hindrances to justice that emerge with regards to common court and tribunal procedures’ and he needed to ‘urge gatherings to common procedures to make more prominent utilization of ADR to over come (sic) court and tribunal obstructions to justice’. In 2009, NADRAC conveyed a report which at last educated the Civil Dispute Resolution Act 2011. The object of this Act is to guarantee that ‘people take genuine steps to resolve disputes’ before instituting civil proceedings. Similarly, the purpose of the Civil Procedure Act 2010 is to ‘facilitate the just, efficient, timely and cost-effective resolution of the real issues in dispute’.[7]

The potential for the organization of ADR to make access to justice challenges was recognized by the 1994 Access to Justice Advisory Committee. The Committee subsequently supported ‘fitting preparing for arbiters’, and the foundation of ‘screening procedures to distinguish parties whose question may not be reasonable for intercession’. The Committee likewise noticed the requirement for general assessment of court-attached intercession projects ‘to distinguish whether any of the potential dangers have eventuated and to acquaint measures with right any recognized issues’. Particular issues brought up in connection to access to justice and intercession incorporate the loss of open interest law cases because of the ordered and private nature of ADR, intrinsic force lopsided characteristics, the casual way of intervention and imbalances. The current various and complex ADR scene may make obstacles for distraught gatherings and further frustrate access to justice. [8]

The question arises now is whether ADR should deliver justice, and if so, whether it is procedural or substantive justice (or both) that should be delivered.

What is ADR?

ADR covers alternatives to litigations where:

  • There is a dispute between two or more parties
  • The dispute is related to civil legal rights
  • The dispute is capable of going to court for resolution
  • The process is confidential
  • The process which involves individuals rather than parties in dispute who add some degree of objectivity[9]

ADR is the name utilized for different methods for explaining a question. For instance, intercession, mediation, settling and ombudsmen are a wide range of ADR. As a rule they are other options to going to court – which is the reason they are now and again known as ‘alternative dispute resolution.[10]

Need for ADR-

ADR is a system used as an alternative to litigation as in litigation there are disadvantages and no system is perfect and there are various ways in which even a good court systemcan fail to meet the needs of an individual litigants, so the need of an alternative system arises so ADR.[11]

Court Recognition of ADR:

Encouragement of the use of ADR came into being with the formation of Woolf reforms and by implication in the Civil procedure Rules 1998. From 2007 the use of ADR has been standardized in country courts and there has been a mediation officer in every field from 2008.[12]

Stay to allow for settlement of the case

26.4(1) A party may, when filing the completed directions questionnaire, make a written request for the proceedings to be stayedwhile the parties try to settle the case by alternative dispute resolution or other means.[13]

Referral to the Mediation Service

26.4A (1) This rule applies to claims started in the County Court which would normally be allocated to the small claims track pursuant to rule 26.6.[14]

Advantages of ADR-

  • Lower Cost-It is cheaper then the court proceedings, when the case is entered at an earlier stage. If negotiation is used, then the cost is very low.[15]
  • Speed- A case can take many years to get resolved through court proceedings but through ADR, if processes like mediation and negotiation are used it can be settled quickly.[16]
  • Control of Process- In ADR the control procedure is with the client whereas in the court the control is with the judge.[17]
  • Choice of Forum- In litigation the choice is judge who will hear the case whereas in mediation and arbitration the parties are able to agree to their choice of expert.[18]
  • Wide Range- In a court a judge can order to do something within the powers of the court whereas in ADR the parties can come to terms which suit the parties and can be helpful in regulation relations in the future.[19]
  • Flexibility- In litigation there are procedures to be followed in the court to get the claim. In ADR, the process of negotiation is relatively informal.[20]
  • Confidentiality- Litigation processes are open to the public whereas in ADR the client can resort to private process and not disclosing anything by putting in confidentiality clauses.[21]
  • Approach-Litigation focuses on the past and who was at fault whereas ADR can be more forward looking process and constructive.[22]
  • Reduction of Risk-Litigation resorts to finding who is the winner and looser. An ADR process is less focused on finding the winner, it can be a win win position for both the parties.[23]
  • Client Satisfaction-In litigation the parties who win show some kind of dissatisfaction. In ADR client tend to express more satisfaction as they have been involved for agreeing to the outcome and have a control in the process.[24]
  • Expand Control Over the Process and the Outcome –In ADR, parties normally assume a more noteworthy part in molding both the procedure and its result. In most ADR procedures, parties have more chance to recount their side of the story than they do at trial. Some ADR procedures, for example, intercession, permit the gatherings to mold innovative resolutions that are not accessible in a trial. Other ADR procedures, for example, assertion, permit the gatherings to pick a specialist in a specific field to choose the debate. [25]
  • Enhance Attorney-Client Relationships –Lawyers may likewise profit by ADR by being seen as issue solvers instead of soldiers. Speedy, practical, and fulfilling resolutions are liable to deliver more content customers and along these lines create rehash business from customers and referrals of their companions and partners.[26]


  • Increased Expense-An ADR process needs to be selected carefully at the right time and right process should be dealt it because if ADR process fails it may incur additional costs.[27]
  • Additional Delay- If an ADR process fails then it may add to delay of time. SO it should be carefully observed when ADR has a reasonable chance of success[28]
  • Reduction in outcome compare to court- In court if a client thinks and has all the grounds for winning the case and getting the costs order in favor, resorting to ADR can reduce this as the decision of the ADR is not binding like the court’s decision.[29]
  • Lack of clear and public finding- In litigation the judge decides the case on the basis of public interest so in future if such a dispute arises so the court may resort to same judgement, while in ADR the motive is to satisfy the parties rather then giving a clear judgement, and moreover how is the dispute is resolved cannot be found easily as it is confidential.[30]

Types of ADR

Mediation-In mediation, an impartial person called a “mediator” helps the parties try to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of the dispute. The mediator does not decide the dispute but helps the parties communicate so they can try to settle the dispute themselves. Mediation leaves control of the outcome with the parties. [31]

Arbitration-In arbitration, a neutral person called an “arbitrator” hears arguments and evidence from each side and then decides the outcome of the dispute. Arbitration is less formal than a trial, and the rules of evidence are often relaxed. Arbitration may be either “binding” or “nonbinding.” Binding arbitration means that the parties waive their right to a trial and agree to accept the arbitrator’s decision as final. Generally, there is no right to appeal an arbitrator’s decision. Nonbinding arbitration means that the parties are free to request a trial if they do not accept the arbitrator’s decision.[32]

Conciliation-Conciliation is an ADR process where an independent third party, the conciliator, helps people in a dispute to identify the disputed issues, develop options, consider alternatives and try to reach an agreement.  A conciliator may have professional expertise in the subject matter in dispute and will generally provide advice about the issues and options for resolution. However, a conciliator will not make a judgment or decision about the dispute. Conciliation may be voluntary, court ordered or required as part of a contract. It is often part of a court or government agency process.[33]

Negotiation-This is a form of dispute resolution- probably the most common one. You can negotiate directly with someone you are in dispute with, or you can have someone negotiate for you, such as an adviser or solicitor.[34]


Collaborative Practice- It means a process of negotiation in which, at a minimum, the parties and their counsel consent to a cooperation arrangement where all concur that the legal advisors’ contribution for the situation will be constrained to exhortation and arrangement, and that if the arrangement comes up short and the case must be prosecuted, the legal counselors will pull back and the gatherings will enlist new advice. The accompanying extra elements are additionally typically indicated in the support understanding: data sharing, aware correspondence, privacy, customer investment all the while, premium based transaction, and the joint maintenance of specialists. Community Practice typically includes a progression of four-path gatherings in which both sides and both lawyers take part. This encourages better correspondence and more noteworthy client involvement.[35]

The Expense of ADR

The expense of different ADR alternatives fluctuates, from allowed to a great degree costly.

Arbitration- Most arbitration plans charge an expense. An accomplished authority in a business debate can be expensive. Be that as it may, shopper discretion plans keep running for an exchange affiliation are generally moderately ease.


Mediation costs change contingent upon the kind of mediation included. Group mediation is generally allowed to clients, albeit some administrations charge a little expense. With family mediation, it can be difficult to work out the amount it will cost toward the begin. The aggregate expense relies on upon heaps of different things: the quantity of issues to be chosen, how muddled they are, to what extent it takes to achieve an assentation, which benefit you utilize, and whether you can get lawful guide. On the off chance that you are on lawful guide, it is definitely less expensive to utilize mediation than to get a specialist to arrange for you. Lawful guide for mediation (and the legitimate counsel you get close by it) doesn’t should be paid back. Be that as it may, lawful guide to pay for a specialist to arrange for you or take the matter to court may must be.[36]

Research in UK

There remains a lack of examination studies on the act of working environment intervention in the UK. Discoveries so far propose that, from an administration point of view in any event, intercession is seen as a possibly significant ADR tool. The most far reaching study completed so far by the CIPD (2008) recommends that it is being utilized all the more often, especially by vast and open segment associations, and that the facilitative model is the primary model being used. In view of the reactions of 766 associations, were at present using intercession, and two out of three respondents said that their association had utilized intervention somewhere around one and five times in the most recent year. Moreover, a large portion of the respondents reported utilizing intervention over three years prior.[37]

According to the result by World Justice Project Law Index 2015 UK in civil justice is ranked 13th. [38]

Barriers to ADR-

Absence of Awareness –Regardless of the way that respondents collectively stated that they could disclose mediation to clients, respondents for the most part took the perspective that their kindred legal counselors knew minimal about ADR forms. Because of the announcement “[t]here is a particular absence of mindfulness with respect to ADR amongst the legitimate organization in Scotland”, from a 139 respondents, 25 (18 for each penny) “unequivocally” concurred, and 70 (50.4 for each penny) “to some degree” concurred instead of 24 (17.3 for every penny) who “to some degree” differ and 10 (7.2 for every penny) who “emphatically” oppose this idea. By what means can these two arrangements of results be squared? To begin with, the individuals who did not react to our study may have demonstrated lower levels of mindfulness in regards to ADR than respondents. Also, as noted over, the way that all respondents guaranteed to have the capacity to portray intervention to a customer may not interpret into an educated energy about the procedure. It additionally gives the idea that in spite of the fact that mindfulness levels with respect to ADR might be high on an individual legal advisor or firm level, that information is not being adequately spread all through the calling all in all. Moreover, maybe resistance from lawful experts to the utilization of ADR or the intransigence of their clients is being misinterpreted by other lawyers as a mere lack of awareness.[39]

Training-Respondents were generally for necessary preparing. In admiration of the announcement, “Preparing in ADR for Scottish attorneys ought to be mandatory”, from 139 respondents, 16 (11.5 for every penny) “strongly “agreed, 70 (50.4 for each penny) “to some degree” concurred, 24 (17.3 for every penny) “to some degree” differ and 15 (10.8per penny) “firmly” oppose this idea. The study results demonstrated a solid connection amongst preparing and routine of ADR. Respondents who had gotten preparing were a great deal more probable both to recommend ADR to their customers and speak to customers in interventions than non-prepared respondents.[40]

Client Resistance- Offers to take part in ADR were rejected it was purportedly to a great extent brought on by customer hesitance. Besides, in appreciation of fizzled intercessions, transcendently such disappointment was faulted for customers. It may be theorized then that customer obliviousness/imperviousness to ADR is the fundamental reason for the relative lack of business intercessions in Scotland. Mays and Clark reported a perspective that consensual methods of question determination may be an utter detestation to defendants’ longings for encounter and conflict. The truth that intervention was something moderately untried and untested was additionally seen as a hindrance to wholesale acknowledgment by customers.[41]

In the above contexts ADR has proved to be an efficient way to access to justice and it has various advantages over the litigation system. Now in many countries ADR has been made compulsory and people resort to ADR as ad effective method. It has been advantageous to people in accessing justice faster and at all means. Justice is not what is desirable under law in some circumstances it may also be that the parties to the dispute agree to some solution which they agree to. Justice according to litigants is when one party is proved guilty under the law and has to remunerate the other party, but sometimes the disputesare of very complex nature and it take a long litigationprocedure to solve such disputes, whereas ADR provides a solution to such disputes in speedy manner. ADR has improved the access to justice but still there are barriers to it. There should be some laws framed or a change in the operating system of ADR to reduce such barriers as no justice system is without cons. ADR has led to an innovation in the field of justice by resorting to its advantages.


  • Table of Legislation-
  • Alternative Dispute Regulations 2015
  • Civil Procedural Rules 1998
  • Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996
  • Mediation Act (Law of July 21, 2012)
  • Books
  • Russell Caller (ed), ADR and Commercial Disputes (Sweet & Maxwell 2002)
  • Hazel Genn, Paths to Justice: What People Do and Think About Going to Law (Hazel Genn 1999)
  • Deborah L. Rhode, Access To Justice (Oxford University Press 2004)
  • Simon Roberts & Michael Palmer, Dispute Processes ADR and the Primary Forms of Decision-Making (2nd Edition Cambridge University press 2005)
  • Ellie Palmer andTom Cornford (trs), Access to Justice: Beyond the Policies and Politics of Austerity, (Hart Publishing 2016)
  • Mauro Cappelletti and Bryant Garth (trs), Access To Justice: Emerging Issues And Perspectives (Sijthoff And Noordhoff- Alphen Aan Den Rijn DOtt. A. Giuffre Editore- Milan 1979)
  • Michael Freeman (ed), Alternative Dispute Resolution (Michael Freeman 1995)
  • Michael L. Moffitt and Robert C. Bordone (trs), The Handbook of Dispute Resolution (Jossey –Bass 2005)
  • Alain Ndedi, Handbook on Procedures on Arbitration and Litigation- Alternative Disputes Resolution Method (Lambert Academic Publishing 2011)
  • Simon Roberts and Michael Palmer, Dispute Processes-ADR and the Primary Forms of Decision-Making (2nd Edition Cambridge University Press 2005)
  • Karl J. Mackie(ed), A Handbook Of Dispute Resolution- ADR in Action(Routledge 1991)
  • Susan Blake, Julie Browne A Pratcial Approach to AletrnativeDipsute resolution (2nd Edition Oxford University Press 2012)

[1] Hazel Genn, ‘What Is Civil Justice For? Reform, ADR, and Access to Justice’ (2013) 397 <http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1392&context=yjlh> accessed on 21 May 2016

[2] ibid

[3] ibid

[4] ibid

[5] ibid

[6] MARY ANNE NOONE AND LOLA AKIN OJELABI ‘Ensuring Access to Justice in Mediation Within the Civil Justice System’ (2014) <https://www.monash.edu/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/232505/noone.pdf> accessed on 19 May 2016

[7] ibid

[8] ibid

[9] Susan Blake, Julie Browne, A Practical Approach to Alternative Dispute resolution (2nd Edition Oxford University Press 2012) 5

[10]Margaret Doyle ‘Why use ADR? Pros & Cons’ (2012) http://asauk.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Why-use-ADR.pdf accessed on 15 May 2016

[11] ibid

[12] ibid

[13] Civil Procedural Rules 1998 https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part26 accessed on 24 May 2016

[14] ibid

[15] Susan Blake, Julie Browne, A Practical Approach to Alternative Dispute Resolution (2nd Edition Oxford University Press 2012) 13

[16] ibid

[17] ibid

[18] Susan Blake, Julie Browne, A Practical Approach to Alternative Dispute resolution (2nd Edition Oxford University Press 2012) 14

[19] ibid

[20] ibid

[21] ibid

[22] Susan Blake, Julie Browne, A Practical Approach to Alternative Dispute Resolution (2nd Edition Oxford University Press 2012) 15

[23] ibid

[24] ibid

[25] Judicial Council of California, ‘ADR Types & Benefits’ 2016 http://www.courts.ca.gov/3074.htm#tab4538 accessed on 25 May 2016

[26] ibid

[27] ibid

[28] ibid

[29] Susan Blake, Julie Browne, A Practical Approach to Alternative Dispute resolution (2nd Edition Oxford University Press 2012) 16

[30] ibid

[31] Judicial Council of California, ‘ADR Types & Benefits’ (2016) http://www.courts.ca.gov/3074.htm#tab4538 accessed on 25 May 2016

[32] ibid

[33] NSW Government Justice, ‘Conciliation‘ http://www.courts.justice.nsw.gov.au/Pages/cats/courtguide/alternate_dispute_resolution/types_adr/catscorporate_conciliation.aspx accessed on 19 May 2016

[34] Margaret Doyle ‘Why use ADR? Pros & Cons’ (2012) 14http://asauk.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Why-use-ADR.pdf accessed on 15 May 2016

[35]David A. Hoffman‘Colliding Worlds of Dispute Resolution: Towards a Unified Field Theory of ADR’ (2008) https://vlebb.leeds.ac.uk/bbcswebdav/pid-3432345-dt-content-rid-5831673_2/courses/201516_28259_LAW5345M/Hoffman-Colliding-SpheresADR%281%29.pdf accessed on 18 May 2016

[36] ibid

[37] Rory Ridley-Duff and Anthony Bennett, ‘Towards mediation: developing a theoretical framework to understand alternative dispute resolution’ (2011) (Industrial Relations Journal ) https://vlebb.leeds.ac.uk/bbcswebdav/pid-3432344-dt-content-rid-5831671_2/courses/201516_28259_LAW5345M/DuffBennettFrameworkADR%281%29.pdf accessed on 23 May 2016

[38]WJP Rule of Law Index 2015http://worldjusticeproject.org/rule-of-law-index accessed on 16 May 2016

[39] Bryan Clark Charles Dawson, ‘ADR and Scottish commercial litigators: a study of attitudes and experience’ (2007) 10 (Civil Justice Quarterly) https://vlebb.leeds.ac.uk/bbcswebdav/pid-3432341-dt-content-rid-5831666_2/courses/201516_28259_LAW5345M/ClarkDawsonADREmpiricalStudy.pdf accessed on 24 May 2016