Dispute Resolution

Dispute Resolution in the United States

Dispute Resolution Definition

Judicial function aimed at producing settlement of conflict. Dispute resolution is the primary function of the judicial system. The courts are a forum provided by government through which parties to a dispute may bring arguments and supporting evidence. The process encourages the resolution of conflicts by negotiation, but if this is not possible, the courts have the capacity to adjudicate matters in dispute and render authoritative decisions. The kinds of conflicts that enter the judicial process are either criminal or civil disputes. The conflict in criminal matters is between an individual and society. The judicial process must assess the societal injury stemming from the individual’s deviant behavior and the punishment for that conduct. Civil disputes, on the other hand, typically involve conflict between two or more private parties, although some level of government is often a party to a civil action. Such disputes require the judicial process to define or redefine the relationship of the parties and possibly allocate (or reallocate) items or value among them.(1)

Analysis and Relevance

One of the means by which courts engage in dispute resolution is litigation. Litigation is a lawsuit that utilizes one set of processes a court can bring to dispute resolution. This set is fully adversarial. Both parties to a lawsuit advance their arguments, almost always through trained attorneys. These arguments are presented to an impartial trier of fact (either a judge or jury), which ultimately determines which party’s “facts” have been best supported. The process of litigation is complex and costly. In addition, there is often a lengthy waiting period before the case can be adjudicated. As a consequence, many disputes are resolved in alternate ways. Direct negotiation between the parties may bring about settlement. Intervention in the form of mediation or arbitration may also produce resolution of conflict. While these activities take place outside the court system as such, they can be viewed as part of the larger dispute resolution process, which operates in a fashion that fully complements the processes of courts. (2)

Main Topics of Dispute Resolution Alternatives

This entry in the American Encyclopedia has been organized to address the following topics, among others:

  • Dispute Resolution Alternatives : Arbitration
  • Dispute Resolution Alternatives : Mediation
  • Dispute Resolution Alternatives : Mini-Trials
  • Dispute Resolution Alternatives : Negotiation

Dispute Resolution in Foreign Legal Encyclopedias

Link Description
Dispute Resolution Dispute Resolution in the World Legal Encyclopedia.
Dispute Resolution Dispute Resolution in the European Legal Encyclopedia.
Dispute Resolution Dispute Resolution in the Asian Legal Encyclopedia.
Dispute Resolution Dispute Resolution in the UK Legal Encyclopedia.
Dispute Resolution Dispute Resolution in the Australian Legal Encyclopedia.

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Dispute Resolution (Credit Card Agreements)

This section introduces, discusses and describes the basics of dispute resolution. Then, cross references and a brief overview about Credit Card Agreements is provided. Finally, the subject of Consumer Protection in relation with dispute resolution is examined. Note that a list of cross references, bibliography and other resources appears at the end of this entry.


Notes and References

  1. Definition of Dispute Resolution from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California
  2. Id.

See Also

Further Reading

Dispute Resolution in the Criminal Justice System

This section covers the topics below related with Dispute Resolution :


Sentencing and Sanctions


See Also

  • Courts
  • Sentencing and Sanctions


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