Do not confuse the informal stage of a procedure with a ‘safe place’ which lies outside the procedure altogether
It is common to confuse
- trying alternative dispute resolution and
- using the ‘informal’ stage of an institution’s formal adversarial procedures.
The ‘informal’ stage is a stage in an adversarial procedure which leads on into a hearing or series of hearings where one side is found to be in the right.
Alternative dispute resolution is an ‘alternative’ to the adversarial procedure. It can provide a safe place in which to talk freely about solutions if the parties agree not to use what is said against one another later if the talks fail.
- There can be a win-win solution.
- It is always possible to go back the the adversarial procedures if this does not work and agreement is not reached.