Division of Risk Management
Bureau of Loss Prevention, State of Florida Loss Prevention Program
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is any procedure, agreed to by the parties of a dispute, in which they call upon the services of a neutral party to assist them in reaching agreement and thus avoid litigation or administrative hearings. Some of the more common forms of ADR include mediation, arbitration, and negotiation.
ADR processes have several advantages. For instance, many ADR processes are cheaper and faster than the traditional legal process. Certain processes can provide the parties involved with greater participation in reaching a solution, as well as more control over the outcome of the dispute. In addition, ADR processes are less formal and more flexible than trial court rules.
Mediation is a voluntary, private process where a neutral third person, called a mediator, helps the parties discuss and try to resolve the dispute. The parties have the opportunity to describe the issues, discuss their interests, understandings, and feelings, provide each other with information and explore ideas for the resolution of the dispute.
Arbitration is a private process where disputing parties agree that one or several individuals can make a decision about the dispute after receiving evidence and hearing arguments. Arbitration is different from mediation because the neutral arbitrator(s) has the authority to make a decision about the dispute, which may be binding or non-binding on the parties. If the decision is non-binding, the option of more formal proceedings remains if one or both of the parties are dissatisfied with the arbitrated findings. The arbitration process is similar to a trial in that the parties make opening statements and present evidence to the arbitrator.
Negotiation is a voluntary and usually informal process in which parties identify issues of concern, explore options for the resolution of the issues, and search for a mutually acceptable agreement to resolve the issues raised. The disputing parties may be represented by attorneys in negotiation. Negotiation is different from mediation in that there is no neutral individual to assist the parties negotiate.
Neutral fact-finding is a process where a neutral third party, selected either by the disputing parties or by the court, investigates an issue and reports or testifies in court. The neutral fact-finding process is particularly useful for resolving complex scientific and factual disputes.
An ombuds is a third party selected by an organization to investigate complaints by employees, clients, or constituents. The ombuds works within the institution to investigate the complaints independently and impartially. The process is voluntary, private, and non-binding.
If you have any questions or concerns, e-mail Risk Services at StateLossPreventionProgram@myfloridacfo.com