The arbitration Debate (NCE 19 July) missed some vital points.
Arbitration has been around not for centuries but millenia, so its lineage and durability should not be underestimated. 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 be encouraging settlement at every stage and on each and every matter in dispute, leaving only unresolved matters in his or her final determination. Mediation, conciliation, expert evaluation, adjudication and preliminary views can all assist.
The key is to find the best procedure. This involves guidance from the chosen arbitrator and the co-operation of parties who should be fully aware of the potential flexibility of the process. Clearly the more they can agree then the cheaper the arbitration will be.
ADR is the acronym for alternative dispute resolution; the alternative being that 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 well established techniques of dispute resolution are consolidated under the banner of arbitration, leading to a final, binding and enforceable award under the statutory safeguards of the Arbitration Act 1996.
MD Joyce (F), Charnock Court, 6 South Parade, Wakefield, West Yorks, WF1 1LR