An introduction to Dispute Resolution

Dispute Resolution (DR) is a collective term for a range of processes for resolving disputes.


The processes can be divided into two distinct categories: those provided by the state through its legal system, and those that are said to be alternatives to state process and which are referred to generically as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes.


The State Legal System

The state legal system provides the necessary structure and resources for the resolution of many disputes. Some disputes require the coercive power of the state to obtain and enforce a resolution.




The most common form of judicial dispute resolution is litigation. By necessity, state litigation is adversarial in nature (i.e. a contest involving antagonistic parties or opposing interests competing for an outcome most favorable to their positions) technically formal, and constrained by rules.


Because of the formality of the process and resource limitations that are placed on the legal system by competing fiscal constraints and public demands for justice, litigation is said by commentators to be too slow and too expensive and to have largely lost commercial and practical credibility.


Alternative Dispute Resolution


On the other hand, private or Alternative Dispute Resolution generally depend on agreement between the parties, either before or after the dispute has arisen.

These processes include:

  • Negotiation
  • Mediation
  • Adjudication
  • Expert Determination
  • Early Neutral Evaluation; and
  • Arbitration
(There are of course other processes, including various hybrids of the aforementioned services). 


Alternative Dispute Resolution has experienced steadily increasing acceptance because of a perception of greater flexibility, informality, confidentiality, speed, and cost effectiveness over traditional litigation.

Find out which Disputes Resolution process might be best for you

For more information on the Dispute Resolution Services administered by NZDRC please refer to the appropriate sections of this website.

If you are unsure which process is most relevant for your particular situation, please contact us on (09) 486 7153 or at and we will be able to advise you accordingly. 


Fair, prompt and cost effective conflict management and dispute resolution services. Proudly serving industry, commerce and the community for 25 years.

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