ADR to be established in Shanghai

Alternative Dispute Resolution, commonly known as ADR, include a set of mechanisms of negotiation, mediation, and arbitration all designed to foster agreement among parties in a dispute in an effort to avoid going to court. ADR mechanisms are often less expensive than going to court, and provide a result that both parties can be satisfied with.

Methods of ADR have been embodied in Chinese culture for many years, following the Confucian idea that law is unecessary when people are moral; moral people can resolve disputes with each other without the rule of law. Today's modern ADR practices allow the law to guide negotiations among the quarreling parties, but give the parties freedom to structure their own remedies, as opposed to having a court determine the outcome of the case where only one party will be satisfied.

Shanghai's Changning District People's Court was the first and remains the only court in Shanghai to have an established ADR system to which it refers complainants. However, this is about to change as Shanghai plans to set up ADR systems in every district by the end of September.

Not only is it beneficial for the parties to utilize these systems, but it also reduces the load on the court docket, allowing the court to conduct its work more efficiently. The Changning District Court went from handling 6,000 cases with 196 officials, to handling 11,000 cases with 203 officials since it made ADR available. From April to June alone the court assigned 461 cases to dispute resolution. The addition of this option will surely put Shanghai courts a step ahead and set an example for other court systems around China.

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