What do you think of when you’re asked to think about dispute resolution? For many, it will bring to mind court cases – but that’s not the only way that disputes can be resolved. In fact, many alternative dispute resolution processes are cheaper and less aggressive. Here’s everything you need to know.

Alternative Dispute Resolution In The UK

There are several alternative dispute resolution procedures available in the UK. The most common are:


Mediation involves an impartial third party – the mediator – who helps the disputing parties to resolve the conflict. They don’t decide the outcome (as a judge would), but instead help the parties to see common ground and move forward together. This is a far less costly method of resolution than a court case, but because the mediator is unable to give an outcome, there is still the possibility that the dispute will not be resolved if an outcome can’t be agreed.


Adjudication, usually used in the construction sector, involves submission of the dispute to an adjudicator who decides the outcome. The adjudicator can either be agreed on by both parties, or an application for an adjudicator can be made to an Adjudicator Nominating Body. The adjudicator will provide an outcome to the dispute within 28 days. However, if both parties don’t agree then the dispute can be re-run in arbitration or court.


Arbitration is more formal than mediation and adjudication and involves a tribunal. The outcome is binding on both parties. If a party disagrees with the outcome after the tribunal, it is rare that the findings of fact can be challenged. However, it can be taken to court if the tribunal did not conduct itself properly or if it made an error of law.

Expert Determination

Expert determination is useful in cases which involve technical matters, rather than a legal dispute. An experienced expert will be selected to determine the issue, on the basis of documents provided. The expert’s decision is final and binding.

When To Seek Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative dispute resolution is extremely useful when a decision can’t be agreed, but you do not want to go to court. In fact, in many instances attempts must be made to resolve out of court – and some contracts will have specific methods of resolution which must be used. This is for the benefit of both parties and the court. Using these methods of resolution can help to keep working relationships positive and save businesses and individuals both time and money. 

It can be difficult to know which method of resolution you should be using. That is why we have experts who can assist you with your contract and help you to understand the best path for your dispute. Beeston Shenton are the perfect, local solution to your dispute problem, and our team members are experienced in resolving conflict. You can get in touch today.