By Terrance M. Booysen (Director: CGF) and peer reviewed by Jayson Kent (Cowan-Harper-Madikizela Attorneys: Senior Associate)
In today’s fast-paced business environment, where time is of the essence, any manner in which processes can be streamlined, made more efficient, and concluded within a shorter time frame than previously possible, is generally met with positivity and appreciation. This is no less the case in the realm of dispute resolution, since parties to a failed agreement often find that there is hardly time to have a dispute, let alone resolve it. Increasingly the benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution (‘ADR’) are being lauded over more traditional, litigious methods which most often start with contending and expensive lawyers, followed by complex, expensively drawn out legal processes. Juxtaposing the traditional approach of settling disputes first and formally through the courts, there are international calls for greater efficiencies in all aspects of the dispute resolution process. However, notwithstanding the benefits expected by ‘side-stepping’ the formal courtroom process, the success of ADR depends largely on negotiation, including the goodwill and collaboration of all the affected parties. If any of these elements are missing, then it is inevitable that the ADR process may be negatively impacted and even fail.