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ADR stands for Alternative Dispute Resolution. It is a process which helps parties under dispute to resolve their argument and come to agreement without filing any litigation. ADR has become popular among people and organizations over the years, despite facing many historic resistances from different parties and advocates. Courts in many European countries require that disputing parties first resort to some type of ADR before filing for litigation.[1]

The ADR Officer for ICANN is its Ombudsman, Chris LaHatte.[2]

ADRs are becoming increasingly popular due to the fact that they generally require less time to solve disputes, as traditional law courts are often overloaded with cases, thus taking longer for any one case to be resolved. Saving time also means saving money. ADR also helps to maintain confidentiality of the dispute and the identities of individuals and organizations involved. Moreover, the parties can select mediators or arbitrators of their choice and preference. American Arbitration Association (AAA) is one of the private organizations in the business of Arbitration which administers the arbitration process. It provides services and assistance to parties who wish to resolve their conflict through ADR.[3]

ADR is used by gTLD-MoU for resolving disputes related to trademark, domain names and other such issues. The uniform procedure used in dispute resolution includes mediation and optionally arbitration (as per the requirements of the applicant at the time of domain name registration) and Administrative Domain Name Challenge Panels (ACPs). ACPs are based on rules set by WIPO intended to implement intellectual property policy of gTLD-MOU.[4]

Types of ADR

ADR is categorized into two types, which have been successfully tried and tested over the years[5].

Mediation: In this method there is a mediator who interacts with the parties involved and tries to resolve the dispute. The role of the mediator is to listen to the argument from all sides and suggest solutions which are beneficial for all involved. A mediator, however, cannot force his suggestions or opinion on the disputed parties. It is the sole decision of the parties to take the appropriate steps for resolving the dispute.

Arbitration: This alternative is used only when the reason behind the dispute is severe, and the mediation procedure has failed to solve the dispute satisfactorily. In such cases, the disputing parties can approach an arbitrator. The proceedings of an arbitration are similar to those of the court, the main difference being that they are not publicized and thus there is no media attention. The arbitrator goes through the documents and credentials of both the parties, which may be represented by their attorneys, and gives a quick decision. The decision served by the arbitrator must be accepted by both the parties.

Advantages of ADR

  • Very cheap; cost effective compared to the litigation process. Some schemes may be offered for free. [6]
  • ADR is a fast process; cases can be solved within a few weeks or sometimes even in a few days.
  • Privacy is maintained, unlike with the courts, which are open to public and media, ADR proceedings are kept private and confidential, and thus the reputations of any parties involved are not affected.
  • The process is simple and can be used even for smaller disputes. Middle class professional complainants can benefit from APR, given that they are faster and cheaper than traditional legal proceedings.

Disadvantages of ADR

  • A resolution cannot be guaranteed. Parties may first choose ADR to resolve a dispute, investing time and money, only to be unsatisfied with the final result, forcing them to resort to filing a litigation. [6]
  • ADR is not preferred for all types of disputes or arguments, for instance in the case of deliberate error or misconduct, crime, and so on. Such disputes cannot be handled with ADR.


  1. Social Science Research Network
  2. Announcements,
  3. ADR about
  4. Dispute Resolution
  5. what is Alternative Dispute Resolution
  6. 6.0 6.1 Advantages and Disadvantages of ADR