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

Dispute Resolution: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Dispute Resolution. This part provides references, in relation to Dispute Resolution, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Dispute Resolution by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Dispute Resolution and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Dispute Resolution or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Dispute Resolution and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Dispute Resolution. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Dispute Resolution should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Dispute Resolution when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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