In recent decades, alternative dispute resolution processes have gained worldwide recognition, a growing role in legal practice, and increasing academic attention. Despite their professed advantages, they have also faced fierce opposition. In a seminal article, Owen Fiss argued that ADR exacerbates imbalances of power between the parties. But while the theoretical argument has been widely developed, empirical evidence has remained scant. This article empirically examines the impact of representation patterns and dispute resolution methods on case outcomes. Arguably, professional representation of weaker parties may reduce the effects of inequality, whereas less formal, transparent, and adjudicatory processes may exacerbate them. The article focuses on small claims settlement conferences, using the Israeli labor courts system as a test case. The main findings are that representation increases the probability of a successful settlement conference, and that the more formal the process, the greater the ratio between the sum obtained by the plaintiff and the sum claimed.
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© 2014 American Bar Foundation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (all)