Author: Michael C. Pryles*
Published: December 1996
Dispute Resolution and Litigation
Description: A revolution has occurred in dispute resolution in Australia over the past twenty years. It has extended to: procedures; personnel; laws; writings.
A much broader range of techniques or procedures are now in common use for dispute resolution. The most evident are the alternative dispute resolution procedures, particularly mediation. There are other ADR techniques including the mini-trial and various hybrid procedures. It should not be forgotten, too, that in the traditional adjudicative dispute resolution procedures (both litigation and arbitration), there have been significant developments. Court rules have been revised and arbitration has seen some innovation in the form of fast-track arbitration and arbitration on documents alone. Nevertheless, it is true to say that ADR, and in particular mediation, is at the epicenter of the dispute resolution revolution.
Along with new techniques have come more diverse personnel. Lawyers no longer have a stranglehold on dispute resolution and lay people have entered the field, especially in relation to mediation. They have swelled the ranks of non-lawyers who previously were confined to specialized industry and trade arbitrators.
Judges and legislators have also been active in advancing dispute resolution.
*Partner, Minter Ellison. Melbourne, President, Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration, Melbourne; Commissioner, the United Nations Compensation Commission, Geneva.