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What is Dispute Resolution?

Dispute resolution is an umbrella term that covers a wide spectrum of methods for settling cases and managing conflicts. Common to most of these methods is the participation of a disinterested third party, who may serve in a variety of roles. The following are some of the most common dispute resolution methods:

  • Negotiation: The parties to a dispute engage in back-and-forth discussions designed to reach a settlement of a dispute or conflict.
  • Shuttle Diplomacy/Conciliation: A third party seeks to bring disputing parties to agreement by lowering tensions, improving communications, explaining possible solutions, or providing technical assistance.
  • Facilitation: A third party plays no substantive role but provides information on process as parties with various viewpoints seek to collaborate on reaching a goal, completing a task, or settling a conflict.
  • Mediation: A third party, skilled in identifying areas of agreement, assists disputants in identifying common interests, inventing options for mutual gain, clarifying and narrowing differences, and designing settlement terms that will work for all parties.