Q: I have a dispute with a builder and have been advised not to go to Court but use Alternative Dispute Resolution, which I understand is mediation or arbitration. The compensation I am seeking is considerable as the builder has refused to put matters right - in fact I wouldn’t trust him to do so anyway, and I will have to pay someone else to finish the job. Can you explain the difference between litigation and ADR and the advantages of not taking my case to Court?
A: Litigation is where a case goes to Court and a legally binding outcome is decided by a Judge. Arbitration and Mediation are both forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) whereby an attempt is made to resolve an issue without the need to go to Court.
In the case of Arbitration, an independent arbitrator is appointed by the parties to make a legally binding decision.
Mediation is where an independent mediator works with both parties to negotiate a settlement, which can become legally binding if an Agreement is drawn up and both parties sign it.
There are many distinct advantages of using ADR rather than going to Court. Firstly, it is cheaper than a trial and you do not run the risk of running up costs that a Judge may not award you. Secondly, with the Courts still battling a huge backlog from the chaos caused by the pandemic, ADR is quicker. In addition, it provides greater flexibility throughout the process, you will have more privacy than going into a public courtroom, you can choose the mediator or arbitrator rather than relying on a Judge who has not been selected to preside, and there is likely to be far less friction and therefore less stress.
You should make an appointment with a solicitor who can go through all the options with you and recommend the best route after considering the details of your case.
This question has been answered by Sarah Talbot, a Senior Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194