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Purpose Of Alternative Dispute Resolution Add in library

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Evaluate the purpose of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and, with particular reference to the services provided by Acas, assess to what extent it is a successful means of resolving disputes outside the formal judicial process.


Purpose of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) with particular reference to the services provided by ACAS

Introduction to Alternative Dispute Resolution

The system of the Alternative Dispute Resolution is a compilation of processes that is used for the purpose to resolve the conflicts and the disputes in an informal and confidential manner (Atlas, Huber and Trachte-Huber, 2000). The process of Alternative Dispute Resolution provides for a viable alternative to the traditional court processes of resolving disputes which includes grievances and complaints (Pareek, 2014). Nevertheless, it should be noted that this process of Alternative Dispute Resolution cannot replace the traditional processes of the court.

Some of the significant reasons for using the Alternative Dispute Resolution process instead of the traditional court process are that this method is less expensive, much faster, is comparatively easier, there are very less formalities involved in this process, there are less challenges and it also encourages the creativeness of the people involved and tend to search for better and more practical solutions (Broadbent, 2009). This process of Alternative Dispute Resolution attempts to avoid the unpredictability that is attached to the decisions that is given by most court decisions due to the following of traditional measures that has been followed throughout the years. Further this process of Alternative Dispute Resolution has generally given the parties resorting to this process better results and improved connections with the disputing parties in order to maintain the good relationship and better workplace morale (Hayford, 2000).

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) that is situated in the United Kingdom is the non departmental public body of the UK government under the Crown.

The primary purpose of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service is to enhance the organization and work culture by promoting and facilitating the strong and supportive practice of industrial relations (Clark, 2001). This facilitation may be done with the help of a number of mediums such as the process of arbitration or mediation. However this service is most known for the process of conciliation. This process resolves the disputes between the different groups of employees and workers who are generally represented by the trade unions and the employers. This organization is independent and fair as it does not take sides for any particular party and instead help the parties to reach a possible solution for the dispute.


Services of the ACAS

The roots of this service were implanted in the year 1896 at the time when the UK government came up with a voluntary arbitration and conciliation service. This service used to also give free guidance to the employers and unions with any industrial or personal problems (Briefing: Most GPs are also employers. The Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration ..., 1997) . In the year 1960 the name was changed to Industrial Relations Services and in 1972 the name was further changed to Conciliation and Advisory Service. Finally in the year 1976 ACAS was made a statutory body under the Employment Protection Act 1975.

The primary services of the service ranges from promoting the settlement of claims which are issue in the employment tribunals. They primarily provide conciliation services to the parties.  These services are notified of all those claims that are applicable in accordance to the services provided by them (Stuart and Martinez Lucio, 2008). These services include the reporting of the different proposals for settlement, giving advice to the parties on matters relating to the procedures of the tribunals and also giving them encouragement on the methods to solve their disputes and listen to others view points. This process of conciliation often is successful in emphasizing on the minds of the parties and their strengths and weaknesses of the classes and primarily this helps the parties which are not interested to be legally represented.

All the discussions that are conducted through the service are kept confidential and are not referred to any tribunal hearing unless the person who makes the communication is consenting for it. When any agreement is reached through this process of conciliation then all the terms of the settlement is required to be formally made in a legally binding agreement that has all the records of the terms of the settlement. The services of ACAS can be generally associated with both after as well as before the claims.


Considering the process of Alternative Dispute Resolution, there are methods to resolve any dispute primarily under the processes of arbitration, mediation or conciliation (BLANCERO, DelCAMPO and MARRON, 2010). All these process are generally preferred by governments as well as big organizations as compared to the traditional court processes (Ware, 2001). The services of ACAS depict that gradually the process of alternative dispute resolution is gaining ground and is preferred by many. However, it should be remembered that once disputes are not solved through these methods, in such cases the only possible way out is the traditional court process.



Atlas, N., Huber, S. and Trachte-Huber, E. (2000). Alternative dispute resolution. Chicago, Ill.: Section of Litigation, ABA.

BLANCERO, D., DelCAMPO, R. and MARRON, G. (2010). Just Tell Me! Making Alternative Dispute Resolution Systems Fair. Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, 49(4), pp.524-543.

Briefing: Most GPs are also employers. The Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration ... (1997). BMJ, 314(7086), pp.3a-3a.

Broadbent, N. (2009). Alternative Dispute Resolution. Legal Information Management, 9(03), p.195.

Clark, J. (2001). Employment Relations in Britain: 25 Years of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. Industrial Law Journal, 30(2), pp.252-253.

Hayford, S. (2000). Alternative dispute resolution. Business Horizons, 43(1), pp.2-4.

Pareek, N. (2014). Enforceability of alternative dispute resolution clauses: position in UK, USA and India. International Journal of Private Law, 7(2), p.175.

Stuart, M. and Martinez Lucio, M. (2008). The New Benchmarking and Advisory State: The Role of the British Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service in Facilitating Labour--Management Consultation in Public Sector Transformation. Journal of Industrial Relations, 50(5), pp.736-751.

Ware, S. (2001). Alternative dispute resolution. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group.

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