Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
From the popular television program People's Court to the establishment of a "Private Court" in Metropolitan Toronto, there has developed a trend toward the resolution of certain kinds of disputes outside the normal and formal courtroom setting. Essentially, they are all variations of a basic model of arbitration where parties submit their competing claims to an independent, nongovernmental tribunal and agree by contract to be bound to the tribunal's decision. Many former judges, some retired and some having left the judiciary, fill positions in these various bodies. There are differences from model to model but they share many common elements. Although relatively new in Canada, the alternative dispute resolution movement is well advanced in the United States. In fact, there are many associations, regular conferences and a vast number of publications that have arisen around alternative dispute resolution.
There are 6 basic kinds of alternative dispute resolution forms and functions: negotiation, conciliation, mediation, arbitration, hybrid alternative mechanisms (ie, "rent-a-judge," mediation-arbitration, "mini-trial" and neighbourhood/community justice movement), and diversion of cases out of the court system.