Promoting the greater use of Alternative Dispute Resolution

The clear advantages that Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods have over litigation notwithstanding, the anecdotal evidence gathered in Dr Anderson's previous work suggest that the uptake of ADR remains low amongst the public in Northern Ireland (NI); while the reticence to engage with it remains relatively high in the legal profession. Moreover, there is strong residual concern amongst the judiciary in NI as to the effectiveness of ADR. Central to all three perspectives is that the fragmented nature of the ADR community in NI is having a detrimental impact on the reach of non-court dispute resolution.

This research has four objectives. First, empirical research to establish evidential patterns about these causes of concern. Second, to carry out an analytical synthesis of this research in order to draw out its implications for the greater use of ADR in NI. Third, to address, by way of a series of practical outcomes, the key “fragmentation” weakness in the current provision of ADR services in NI by, first, arranging for an NI-specific ADR providers conference and forum and then with a view to establishing and maintaining a single online portal for all ADR service in NI. Finally, the underlying idea is to ensure that this NI-centric study contributes to and supplements ongoing empirical and evaluative research on the use of ADR in the UK as a whole.

Project details



Dr Jack Anderson, Queen's University, Belfast

Grant amount and duration


June 2012 - June 2013