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Alternative Dispute Resolution and Arbitration – Melbourne

The process of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) involves the settling of a dispute by means other than a judicial determination. During this process impartial third-parties may assist the disputing parties in working towards a mutually satisfactory outcome.

Elements of the alternative dispute resolution process may include the following, among others:

  • Negotiation
  • Conferences
  • Mediation, or
  • Arbitration

Conferencing, negotiation, and mediation are all based on the concept that the parties themselves should determine an outcome for themselves, with assistance from qualified and impartial third parties.

However, arbitration involves the parties submitting their dispute to a third party (the arbitrator) who then hands down a binding resolution which the parties are to accept as final. Parties may attempt ADR out of agreement, or they may be required to do so as part of judicial proceedings.

Courts in Victoria regularly refer cases to pre-hearing conferences, mediation, conciliation, and arbitration. The County Court, Magistrates’ Court, Federal Court and Circuit Court, and the Supreme Court all have the power to order proceedings (or any part of a proceeding) to mediation without the consent of the parties.

The primary function of ADR is to resolve legal disputes in a manner which minimises costs and is more expedient and less adversarial than court proceedings.

Settlements obtained through the ADR process could potentially save you time, money, and stress which often goes hand-in-hand with court proceedings.


Arbitration is the most advanced of the formal dispute resolution processes governed by Australian law. In Arbitration, disputing parties refer their dispute to an independent third party (the arbitrator), who determines an outcome based on the circumstances and information provided and then hands that outcome down to the disputing parties.

The arbitration process can be altered to suit the type of case being heard. For example, a small case could be heard on the basis of documentary submissions alone, which would significantly reduce the costs associated with the process. For this reason, it is important that you obtain legal advice when deciding whether or not to engage in dispute resolution.

Arbitration is most commonly used to resolve industrial or commercial disputes, rather than civil disputes involving individuals. It is most useful when the disputing parties are in clear conflict with each other, for example, a dispute between a trade union and an employer or between two competing companies.

Arbitration is becoming increasingly popular for parties seeking a binding resolution to their dispute due to its nature as an efficient, expedient, and private method of dispute resolution.

Arbitration is becoming increasingly popular for parties seeking a binding resolution to their dispute due to its nature as an efficient, expedient, and private method of dispute resolution.

When is Arbitration most useful?

Arbitration should be considered when parties require a set of procedures, such as those found in court, but without the formalities, delays, and costs associated with litigation. Arbitration also allows for a dispute to be heard by an arbitrator or tribunal that is specifically chosen based on their knowledge or experience in the area of dispute.

Parties are able to nominate an arbitrator, who will then call a conference with the parties to determine a set of procedures and guidelines for the arbitration of their dispute.

Arbitration should be considered by parties to contracts before a contract is even entered. If an arbitration clause is included in a contract, it would require the parties to participate in arbitration should a major dispute occur. This lowers the likelihood of costly and prolonged legal action arising from any contractual disputes.

Key Benefits of Arbitration include:

  • Efficiency and speed with which a dispute can be resolved;
  • Confidentiality and privacy in all arbitration proceedings;
  • A result obtained through arbitration is enforceable and considered final.

Here at LGM Advisors, our Melbourne lawyers are ready to work with you in order to obtain an optimal outcome for any dispute you may be involved in. We work tirelessly with our clients, and aim to provide them with satisfying and empowering resolutions as efficiently as possible.

To speak to one of our Alternative Dispute Resolution and Arbitration – Melbourne lawyers today, call us on (03) 9832 0608 or by email at

Helpful links:

Australian Center for International Commercial Arbitration