A brief explanation of whether lawyers are always required for alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
Does Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) require Lawyers ?
For alternative dispute resolution (ADR), lawyers are not necessary required; although for more complex disputes lawyers can be involved. In mediation, for instance, a mediator does not have to be a lawyer, but it is very important that they are experienced and suitable for the job and are neutral. Both parties have to be comfortable with a mediator, as a mediator cannot be imposed on parties. Whether the parties agree on a lawyer or not is individual for every ADR that is undertaken. Often in mediation and arbitration this could be someone with good knowledge of the disputed area or an expert in the industry.
Considering this from a lawyer’s point of view is important too. A substantial part of what is involved in a lawyer’s work is providing clients with advice and assistance on how to settle disputes and when it is more appropriate to do so. The judicial system is not in the core of the usual ADR mechanisms and processes, and thus lawyers do not exclusively have the right to participate. ADR is open to anyone to be appointed by the parties. The arbitration process, for instance, has become very popular in the international corporate world, and is used to settle cross-border disputes that are very complicated and involve different considerations such as cultural and religious background, applicable law and others. In such circumstances, arbitrators with a vast knowledge and experience are required, and naturally parties look to lawyers and highly reputable industry experts to take part in the arbitration process. However, parties are always free to choose and agree on such matters.