The arbitration Debate (NCE 19 July) missed some vital points.
Arbitration allows almost infinite flexibility in the way disputes are resolved. Party autonomy, fairness, impartiality, speed and economy are the defining objectives of the arbitral process and can be achieved in many ways.
Every arbitrator should encourage settlement at every stage, leaving only unresolved matters to his or her final determination. Mediation, conciliation, expert evaluation, adjudication and preliminary views can all assist in this process. The key is to find the best procedure.
This involves guidance from the chosen arbitrator and the co-operation of parties. Clearly the more they can agree then the cheaper the process.
ADR is well known as the acronym for Alternative Dispute Resolution, alternative that is, to litigation. But perhaps it would be better described as Appropriate Dispute Resolution where procedures are chosen to suit the particular circumstances.
Speed and economy will be achieved if all the techniques of dispute resolution are consolidated under the banner of arbitration, thereby leading to a final, binding and enforceable award under the statutory safeguards of the Arbitration Act 1996.
Michael D Joyce (F) Charnock Court 6 South Parade Wakefield West Yorkshire, WF1 1LR