Why lawyers should embrace alternative dispute resolution in pursuit of justice
Posted Monday, November 4 2013 at 02:00
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a structured negotiation process whereby the parties to a dispute negotiate their own settlement with the help of an independent intermediary who is neutral and trained in the techniques of ADR.
It is an alternative to litigation in the courts of law which are plagued by high costs and delays.
ADR takes the form of arbitration, reconciliation, and mediation among others. There is, however, a myth that ADR is pursued by weak lawyers and that it is not as rewarding as litigation. Noteworthy is that the courts of law in Uganda are required to promote reconciliation between parties. However, the justice system in Uganda is experiencing challenges that have jeopardised access to justice, including; shortage of judges, lack of funds, case backlog and corruption. It is, therefore, wise for a lawyer to engage ADR so as to avoid these challenges.
That notwithstanding, a prudent lawyer should recommend ADR before suggesting trial, particularly in matters concerning family, land and commercial disputes so as to save the client’s time and also allot time to the lawyer for other engagements.
ADR also promotes confidentiality since the press is not granted access to the deliberations as is the case in litigation. This protects the client from embarrassment that would accrue as a result of disclosing certain facts to the public.