Types of Dispute Resolution
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The spectrum of dispute resolution (DR)


Process Definitions


is a discussion between two or more people solving disagreements, deciding what to do, or making a bargain. Negotiation may involve advocates or representatives.


is the use of a third person who is asked to help people reach an amicable resolution of their dispute. The conciliator does not have the authority to impose a settlement, and usually speaks with the parties separately.


involves a neutral who helps members of a group to define and meet their goals, exchange ideas and information, solve a problem or hold effective meetings. 


is a method for discussing problems and exploring solutions with the help of a trained neutral. Mediators help people communicate clearly and negotiate effectively. Mediators do not take sides, give legal advice, make decisions about resolutions or impose solutions. Mediation is private and voluntary. Research shows that mediation frequently results in agreements that are voluntarily followed because they are created by the people directly involved.   

Neutral Evaluation

is conducted by a neutral with the expertise to hear arguments and predict the likely outcome in court. The evaluator may also provide guidance and settlement assistance with the parties’ consent.


is a formal proceeding that uses one or more neutrals to listen to evidence and render a decision. The decision may be binding or non-binding.


is a legal dispute argued in court. Attorneys help negotiate a resolution, or a judge or jury makes a decision. The people directly involved have little control over the process or outcome.

Other Processes

Consensus Building

is a process of negotiation that crafts an outcome to which all participants can agree.  In tailoring the agreement, participants seek to resolve or mitigate objections of the minority to achieve the most agreeable decision. Consensus is usually defined as meaning both general agreement, and the process of getting to such agreement.

Restorative Justice

encompasses victim/survivor centered processes that address harm from crime, bullying and violations of legal and human rights.  Restorative resolutions engage those who are harmed, wrongdoers and their affected communities in search of outcomes that may help promote the repair, reconciliation and the rebuilding of relationships.

How do I know what method is right for my situation?
When you contact a provider or CDRC they will help determine which dispute resolution procedure would be ideal for your situation.