Women and ADR

Field, Rachael M. (2010) Women and ADR. In Easteal, Patricia (Ed.) Women and the Law in Australia. LexisNexis Butterworths, Chatswood, N.S.W., Australia, pp. 21-34.

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Alternative dispute resolution, or ‘ADR’, is defined by the National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council as: … an umbrella term for processes, other than judicial determination, in which an impartial person assists those in a dispute to resolve the issues between them. ADR is commonly used as an abbreviation for alternative dispute resolution, but can also be used to mean assisted or appropriate dispute resolution. Some also use the term ADR to include approaches that enable parties to prevent or manage their own disputes without outside assistance. A broad range of ADR processes are used in legal practice contexts, including, for example, arbitration, conciliation, mediation, negotiation, conferencing, case appraisal and neutral evaluation. Hybrid processes are also used, such as med-arb in which the practitioner starts by using mediation, and then shifts to using arbitration. ADR processes generally fall into one of three general categories: facilitative, advisory or determinative. In a facilitative process, the ADR practitioner has the role of assisting the parties to reach a mutually agreeable outcome to the dispute by helping them to identify the issues in dispute, and to develop a range of options for resolving the dispute. Mediation and facilitated negotiation are examples of facilitative processes. ADR processes that are advisory involve the practitioner appraising the dispute, providing advice as to the facts of the dispute, the law and then, in some cases, articulating possible or appropriate outcomes and how they might be achieved. Case appraisal and neutral evaluation are examples of advisory processes. In a determinative ADR process, the practitioner evaluates the dispute (which may include the hearing of formal evidence from the parties) and makes a determination. Arbitration is an example of a determinative ADR process. The use of ADR processes has increased significantly in recent years. Indeed, in a range of contemporary legal contexts the use of an ADR process is now required before a party is able to file a matter in court. For example, Juliet Behrens discusses in Chapter 11 of this book how the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) now effectively mandates attendance at pre-filing family dispute resolution in parenting disputes. At the state level, in Queensland, for example, attendance at a conciliation conference can be required in anti-discrimination matters, and is encouraged in residential tenancy matters, and in personal injuries matters the parties must attend a preliminary compulsory conference. Certain ADR processes are used more commonly in the resolution of particular disputes. For example, in family law contexts, mediation and conciliation are generally used because they provide the parties with flexibility in terms of process and outcome while still ensuring that the negotiations occur in a positive, structured and facilitated framework. In commercial contexts, arbitration and neutral evaluation are often used because they can provide the parties with a determination of the dispute that is factually and legally principled, but which is also private and more timely than if the parties went to court. Women, as legal personalities and citizens of society, can find themselves involved in any sort of legal dispute, and therefore all forms of ADR are relevant to women. Perhaps most commonly, however, women come into contact with facilitative ADR processes. For example, through involvement in family law disputes women will encounter family dispute resolution processes, such as mediation. In this chapter, therefore, the focus is on facilitative ADR processes and, particularly, issues for women in terms of their participation in such processes. The aim of this chapter is to provide legal practitioners with an understanding of issues for women in ADR to inform your approach to representing women clients in such processes, and to guide you in preparing women clients for their participation in ADR. The chapter begins with a consideration of the ways in which facilitative ADR processes are positive for women participants. Next, some of the disadvantages for women in ADR are explored. Finally, the chapter offers ways in which legal practitioners can effectively prepare women clients for participation in ADR. Before embarking on a discussion of issues for women in ADR, it is important to acknowledge that women’s experiences in these dispute resolution environments, whilst often sharing commonalities, are diverse and informed by a range of factors specific to each individual woman; for example, her race or socio-economic background. This discussion, therefore, addresses some common issues for women in ADR that are fundamentally gender based. It must be noted, however, that providing advice to women clients about participating in ADR processes requires legal practitioners to have a very good understanding of the client as an individual, and her particular needs and interests. Some sources of diversity are discussed in Chapters 13, 14 and 15.

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ID Code: 75547
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: Women and the law, alternative dispute resolution, access to justice
ISBN: 9780409325959
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Access to Justice (180102)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Law and Society (180119)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Litigation Adjudication and Dispute Resolution (180123)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Law not elsewhere classified (180199)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 LexisNexis Butterworths
Deposited On: 25 Aug 2014 23:59
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2016 15:17

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