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Why Choose Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

Organizational conflict is usually a costly experience. In many cases, legal action is the culmination of a series of uncomfortable disputes that eat up time and resources for months, undermining productivity and diverting senior management from strategic goals.

We believe that in many cases there has to be a better way. As professionals who work with and support organizations through the conflict management process, we know that there is.

Take a moment to consider:

  • Have you ever felt frustrated or trapped by conflicts that undermine organizational health and productivity, escalating beyond the point where resolution should have occurred?
  • Have you seen disputes evolve into costly battles with your own employees, customers or outside organizations where you believe all parties would rather sit down and resolve the issues themselves, but there doesn't seem to be any way to do it?
  • Have you litigated problems you believe you could have more quickly solved yourself if you had the right tools?

Whether you are involved in a current dispute situation or are looking to manage costly conflicts as they arise, we can help.


Knowing the Alternatives Enables You to Make the Right Choice

Our Appropriate Dispute Resolution model delivers a full spectrum of tools, techniques and services to deal with conflicts at various stages and on different scales.

Our service and operating approach is modeled on the methodology of a top-flight medical clinic.

Consistent with that approach, our typical diagnostic and treatment steps are:

  1. Determine if urgent intervention is necessary, and if so, what are the most appropriate means to contain the conflict emergency;
  2. Conduct an examination and evaluation to scope out the real cause(s) of the conflict;
  3. The next step is prescriptive. Advise on the actions to be taken, both short and long-term, when, how and by whom. For example, establishing the process and protocol for internal decision making, providing facilitation and negotiation services to bring about necessary relationship restructuring and providing adjudication or mediation services where a definitive decision is desired. In short, this step identifies the right instruments and prescriptive "medicine" to begin the healing process;
  4. The final step, where possible, is to create follow-up procedures committing the parties (and possibly others) to on-going targeted procedures designed to prevent the recurrence of conflict. The goal is to build resilience and flexibility into the operating structure of the organization to achieve minimal conflict on a continuing basis.

These concepts are simple, but to work well, they must be applied to the right situation. Some of the tools that may be selected include:

  • mediation
  • arbitration
  • med-arb
  • fact-finding

For descriptions of the above-noted processes, view our ADR Services web page.

In selecting the most effective approach, the organization must consider:

  • The cost of losing-or the gain of winning (in monetary and strategic terms, and also in terms of people and values);
  • The need for continuing relationships that both enhance and protect the parties and all of those with whom they deal; and
  • To what extent education of all parties involved is needed and may help.

Relationships are vital to your organization. It is important to resolve conflicts in a manner that maintains relationships, rather than destroys them. Sometimes legal action is the only option-but at other times a different choice can lead to the resolution of a conflict, the maintenance or strengthening of existing relationships, and may provide a deeper understanding of both parties' needs.

We can design conflict resolution mechanisms specific to your needs, assist in achieving the best value from such processes, select the right options for particular situations, and train people in the use of conflict resolution systems within your organization. We can help you learn to use Appropriate Dispute Resolution tools to minimize the disruption and cost to your organization and strengthen the future capacity to manage and resolve conflicts.


Suite 803
750 West Pender Street
Vancouver, BC
V6C 2T8
Tel: (604) 685-8329
Fax: (604) 685-9254
jsanderson@sanlaing.ca