While covering an aspect of the Alternative Dispute Resolution- or ADR- process somewhat beyond its practical applicability on the local level, this article still demonstrates the appeal of the ADR alternative to litigation: solutions that are more efficient in both time and expense. And its use has spiraled over the past two decades benefiting the litigants as well as the venues where their resolutions are reached.
Arbitration is a tool of the ADR process along with mediation, case evaluation and mini-trial. It’s a privatized trial, if you will, and like most governmental functions that are privatized, it is often more efficient. The arbitrator, or judge, and the rules are mutually agreed upon by the parties within the scope of established criteria. The parties, however, are in control in terms of the process and scheduling,
International disputes have their own set of rules in both the judicial and commercial sense. But rules are rules and often don’t seem that important until they have to be applied. These rules can be applied in a process that is lengthy, cumbersome, expensive and in the hands of a third party. They can also be applied in a way that is timely, straightforward, less expensive and the where the disputants themselves have more say.
Located strategically at the midpoint of the Georgia/Florida line and equidistant between many of the larger cities within a 300 mile radius, the Valdosta area is uniquely situated.to host regional inter and intra state conflicts. We have the facilities (the old Lowndes County Courthouse) available and a talented pool of court approved neutrals and arbitrators in our Southern Judicial Circuit ADR program. Court costs, delays in getting to a decision within the judicial framework, and probably dissatisfaction with the outcome are plenty of reasons take a hard look at the ADR process in a commercial conflict setting.
Many contracts, and most of these disputes are contractual, contain arbitration or ADR clauses; and where they don’t, the parties can always opt for the process by agreement. It seems to make more economic sense for both sides in a conflict where they can come together and agree on their own process, as well as when and where they want it resolved.
The fact that they could come to an agreement in that respect might demonstrate an important point within both camps: If we could agree on that, then why can’t we come to a total resolution?
And if the “macro” world has figured out these advantages, perhaps there’s lessons to be learned n the “micro” world.
Gary Wisenbaker, B.A., J.D. is a native of South Georgia where he practiced law in Valdosta and Savannah for 31 years. He has lectured at seminars and written treatises on real and personal property foreclosure and the rights of creditors. His column “Law Wise” appeared in the Savannah Morning News and he hosted his own weekly radio call in program, “Ask the Expert”. He holds a general civil mediation certification is a state approved neutral with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution. Gary recently established a mediation practice, Wiregrass Mediation Services, LLC, to provide mediation services across South Georgia.