University of California Irvine, School of Law; Georgetown University Law Center
May 19, 2015
International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, Elsevier Ltd. 2015
UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2015-59
This entry for the International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2nd ed. defines and describes modern processes of dispute resolution beyond court adjudication, including negotiation, mediation, arbitration and a variety of new hybrid forms of dispute resolution (e.g. med-arb, summary jury trial, public policy consensus building) that are sued in both public and private disputes. The article reviews the history and theory behind these processes, outlining quantitative and qualitative reasons for their use and then reviews a variety of controversies association with their use, including the privatization of dispute resolution, difficulty in evaluating their effectiveness and power imbalances in their use. The aspirational qualities of process pluralism are contrasted to the realities of their use and cooptation in some contexts, such as when powerful private and public parties dictate the form that dispute resolution takes, without party consent.