Negotiated Dispute Resolution – new name, same effective results

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Fashions come and go but whilst some cause a brief ripple of interest and disappear, others stand the test of time. In this way, what was once considered ‘alternative’ occasionally becomes part of the ‘mainstream’ fabric of our society.

This applies as much to the legal sector as any other and the journey that Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has taken in recent years provides a classic example.

Although it’s fair to say that ‘alternative’ in this usage was always meant to refer to ‘alternatives to court’, nonetheless the methods that it refers to have perhaps been regarded in some quarters as being new and untested. However, the highly effective use of ADR over an extended period has proven ‘alternative’ to be a misnomer. So, time for a re-brand and, if you take a close look at the 2022 Commercial Court Guide, in place of Alternative Dispute Resolution you will find Negotiated Dispute Resolution (NDR).

This seems a much more appropriate and relevant description of the processes involved, highlighting the non-adversarial approach that its methods, such as mediation, adopt. Negotiation can have equally tangible and impactful outcomes as litigation as it empowers the parties involved to find solutions together rather than having them imposed upon them by the Court system.

And in the commercial world where nurturing and maintaining relationships is instrumental in achieving sustainable success, Negotiated Dispute Resolution will continue to play a vital role in allowing businesses to iron out their quarrels and walk away with their relationship intact. In short, NDR is here to stay and that is something to be celebrated, I’m sure we can all agree.