the field of dispute resolution has a love of acronyms. many terms are thrown around which can be confusing or meaningless to those unfamiliar to them.

adr = alternative dispute resolution: mediation + arbitration processes gained prominence initially when they were viewed as another option beyond going to court. in this context, the public justice system was viewed as the default + private processes were embraced as the alternative to it.

to marc, the term alternative refers to a genre of music; one of many that can be enjoyed.

as the worlds of public + private dispute resolution have overlapped over time, no longer are they distinct. for example, it is not uncommon for parties going to trial to address an issue to attempt to privately mediate their conflict before having their day in court. in fact, particularly as the covid-19 pandemic has only further backlogged an already backlogged court system, it is becoming the expectation that parties in need of a judge to provide an outcome for them to first have exhausted their options for dealing with their issue themselves + that includes trying to mediate.

the master of laws program that marc bhalla completed at osgoode hall law school changed it's name a few years back from 'alternative dispute resolution (adr)' to 'dispute resolution (dr)' to highlight the mainstream prominence of mediation + arbitration these days.

so, the term 'adr' is a historical reference to private dispute resolution processes like mediation + arbitration. these days, it is simply refered to as 'dr' - for dispute resolution - as in 456dr.

batna = best alternative to a negotiated agreement: in the course of weighing your options when embracing the self-determination that comes with mediation, it is important for you to be aware of the settlement options that are on the table + the reality of options beyond settling. if the matter does not get resolved at mediation, what will happen? what is the best option available if mediation will not fully address the conflict? the dispute resolution community tends to take this terminology too far with terms like watna (worst alternative to a negotiated agreement), mlatna (most likely alternative to a negotiated agreement), etc. - you were warned that the field loves acronyms! - nevertheless, this all highlights the importance of preparing to mediate + gaining a realistic sense of one's options within + beyond the process going in.

odr = online dispute resolution: the notion of including technology in the dispute resolution process. odr is what we use these days to address conflict. currrently, practically, the term is synonymous with dispute resolution.

wtf = actually, this one has the same meaning it has when used elsewhere. it is just that when people in conflict do not understand where one another are coming from, they tend to use it a lot! mediation can help provide clarity + understanding.

zopa = zone of possible/potential agreement: think about drawing a circle that represents the outcomes that one party experiencing a conflict would be agreeable to + another for each additional party involved. where these circles overlap - like how blue + yellow make green - is the 'zopa'. the idea is to demonstrate if a feasiable mediated settlement exists for a particular dispute. marc considers this to be an academic exercise, rather than practical, so will rarely throw this term around in practice. it does serve to explain the concept of trying to find agreement well, though.

 

 home