Chapter 18 Advantages and disadvantages of dispute resolution processes

The advantages and disadvantages of the major dispute resolution processes may be summarised as follows:


Advantages Disadvantages
  • It is private – there is no public record of any proceedings, although not necessarily confidential
  • Comparative informality, or at least the opportunity to decide levels of formality within the arbitration agreement
  • Speed, although this depends very much on the manner in which the arbitrator conducts the arbitration
  • The parties can agree on an arbitrator with relevant expertise in the matter
  • The arbitrator’s award can be enforced as a judgment of the court
  • The parties must bear the costs of both the arbitrator and the venue, in addition to the usual costs of litigation
  • Sometimes arbitration simply mimics court processes and so you do not get the advantage of informality and speed
  • Limited powers of compulsion or sanction if one party fails to comply with directions of the arbitrator, which can significantly slow down the process
  • The arbitrator has no power to make interim measures, such as for the preservation of property
  • Limited appeal rights

Expert determination/adjudication

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Generally regarded as the highest quality decision making
  • Judges can compel the parties to comply with timeframes and have powers of sanction for non-compliance
  • Judges have the power to make orders to provide interim relief to protect a party’s position pending the final judgment
  • here are well defined rights of appeal in cases where errors of fact or law are made
  • Judgments are enforceable within Australia
  • Potentially greater costs if the dispute is not well managed or the other party seeks to delay the proceedings
  • Potentially longer time period to obtain a judgement
  • Proceedings are generally conducted in public
  • Judgment will be subject to appeal


Advantages Disadvantages
  • Informal process
  • Can be initiated at any time as agreed between the parties
  • Allows commercial relationships to be maintained during and after the dispute
  • Parties can reach agreement incorporating flexible approach to outcomes
  • If the parties do not agree, there is no outcome and the mediation has failed
  • The mediator has no power to order the parties to do anything or refrain from doing anything
  • Information may be ‘given away’ in the process
Updated 9 December 2019