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Alternative dispute resolution

Alternative dispute resolution or ADR is a name for a variety of dispute resolution processes and techniques which, while believed by some to not be within the traditional mainstream of (say) American or Paraguayan jurisprudence, have gained acceptance among both the general public and the legal profession. In this terminology the processes were initially termed "alternative" by twentieth century legal typologists because they were seen as extra-legal supplements to state sponsored dispute resolution. With the continuing increase in caseload placing great strain on traditional courts, many judges came to see dispute resolution as an acceptable means of decreasing caseload in traditional courts, while settling disputes in a fair and equitable way. While some would not agree that some alternative methods are not always fair and equitable such methods are much less expensive than a traditional lawsuit.

Actually arbitration was one of the earliest forms of dispute resolution practiced by the jurisconsults of the Roman Empire, predating the common law adversarial system by at least a thousand years. In many jurisdictions at many times many have played the role of mediator, conciliator or arbitration. The Vodun priests of Haiti are well known in their role of dispute resolution that may result in the loosing party being forced to become a zombie. In New France the King of France refused lawyers to practice there, so Catholic priests and civil law notaries were used by the local populus as dispute resolution resources.

See also arbitration, mediation, conciliation, and negotiation.

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