Traditional and Nontraditional Litigation
Today’s society is very litigious. Lawsuits have become commonplace over the past few decades and the court system is the most common venue for lawsuits to play out. When two or more parties are in a legal dispute and they resolve the matter via the court system, it is traditional litigation. However many disputes are settled through mediation or arbitration, and this falls under nontraditional litigation or Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
The litigation process involves settling claims or disputes in court. According to Becker Legal, P.C., the process begins with legal documents being served to a defendant by a plaintiff through the legal system. After which, the plaintiff submits an answer to the court regarding the dispute claim. This is the initial proceedings of a lawsuit in action, as is common with traditional litigation (Traditional Adversarial Litigation, 2009).
The next step in the process involves the discovery, which means the attorneys for both sides do research to find out as much information about the case as possible. This information can include any type of evidence, expert testimony, witness testimony, or subpoenaed information. (How Does a Lawsuit Work, 2012).
Another common procedure for obtaining information for a case is attorney-witness question and answer sessions, where the witness answers questions in writing under oath. Also, a witness can be questioned orally under oath and the answers to this type of questioning are called depositions (Traditional Adversarial Litigation, 2009).
With traditional litigation, the next steps are hearings and negotiations then the case is either settled out of court or it goes to trial. At the trial, the opposing parties dispute the legal matter in court until there is a verdict on the issue by a judge or a jury.
Nontraditional Litigation (ADR)
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) practices fall under nontraditional litigation techniques such as mediation and arbitration. According to the United States Department of Labor, “The term “alternative dispute resolution (ADR)” means any procedure, agreed to by the parties of a dispute, in which they use the services of a neutral party to assist them in reaching agreement and avoiding litigation (Labor Relations). It is also mentioned that ADR includes, not only arbitration and mediation, but negotiation, neutral fact finding and mini-trials as well. With ADR, opposing parties can be more in control of the resolution process for handling their dispute claims and coming to more amicable or agreeable solutions.
Traditional Litigation Compared to Nontraditional Litigation
It is common for disputing parties to choose ADR over traditional litigation methods to settle disputes and it is preferable mainly because of the time and money saved. ADR methods often help opposing parties avoid the high expenses involved with taking matters to court, and also ADR methods are without the long delays that the court process incurs. The court process can sometimes take months to resolve disputes. Another reason ADR is often preferable to traditional litigation is because the uncertainty factor is greatly reduced. Traditional litigation methods are uncertain because no one ever knows which way a judge or a jury will vote when it is time to hand down a verdict. With ADR, the opposing parties are more in control and have an idea about how the dispute will play out throughout the process because they are directly involved throughout the entire process (Labor Relations).
In conclusion, lawsuits have become so popular in today’s society. People can sue for almost anything. The court system is full of litigious activity, which is why there is such a long wait with traditional litigation, and why many people opt to go the ADR route instead.
How Does a Lawsuit Work? Basic Steps in the Civil Litigation Process. (2012). Retrieved from Stoel Rives Attorneys at Law: http://www.stoel.com/showarticle.aspx?Show=963
Labor Relations: Alternative Dispute Resolution. (n.d.). Retrieved from United States Department of Labor: http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/labor-relations/adr.htm#.UPdMTTYo6po
Traditional Adversarial Litigation. (2009). Retrieved from Becker Legal, P.C.: http://www.beckerlegalgroup.com/traditional-adversarial-litigation