Dispute Resolution Reference Guide

Preface to Dispute Resolution Modules

DR processes can be divided into three primary categories: consensual processes; adjudicative processes; and hybrid methods which combine aspects of both.  In the most informal processes, the participation of the parties is voluntary, the third party interferes minimally and has little power to compel the parties.  Through progressively more structured levels of dispute resolution, the process becomes more formalized and the intervention and authority of the third party increases.  A simplified spectrum[1] of key DR processes which progresses from consensual, informal options to more formalized adjudicative processes is depicted below:

Processes
Consensual Processes Non-Consensual Processes
Negotiation Conciliation Mediation Arbitration Adjudication
Partnering Early Neutral Evaluation Mini-Trial

To assist Justice practitioners in advising their clients on these dispute resolution options, DRS has created a series of Practice Modules which examine the processes most commonly used and which are relevant to government practice.

Each Module details the fundamental characteristics of that particular DR option and informs the reader about its use.  These Modules are intended to introduce the reader to the advantages and disadvantages of each process, to instruct counsel on how best to match a particular dispute to the most appropriate settlement process, and to provide a practitioner's checklist which will suggest how counsel should proceed once the disputing parties have decided to use a given process.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact the members of Dispute Prevention and Resolution Services,  (613) 957-4643, or at dpr-prd@justice.gc.ca.


  • [1] This spectrum includes many, but not all ADR mechanisms and processes.  For a more comprehensive and complex spectrum, please refer to the Condensed Spectrum of Dispute Resolution Processes published by the Law Society of Upper Canada in July, 1992.
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