dispute-resolution center | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Corrections

A dispute-resolution center serves as a neutral facility or organization offering an unbiased environment for individuals or parties to work towards resolving their conflicts or disputes.

Dispute-resolution centers play a pivotal role in maintaining social harmony. They provide a safe and neutral space for people to address their conflicts. These centers are staffed with trained professionals who guide individuals or parties through the process of resolving their disputes. The goal is to achieve a resolution that is satisfactory for all involved.

These centers can handle a wide variety of disputes, ranging from personal matters, like family or neighborhood conflicts, to more complex issues, like business disputes or landlord-tenant disagreements. The flexible nature of these centers allows them to adapt to the needs of the dispute at hand, fostering a more personalized approach to conflict resolution.

Services Offered by Dispute-Resolution Centers

Dispute-resolution centers offer a range of services to facilitate peaceful conflict resolution. The three main services provided are mediation, arbitration, and conciliation.

Mediation involves a neutral third party—the mediator—helping the disputing parties to communicate and negotiate with each other to reach a mutually acceptable solution. Mediators do not make decisions but rather guide the conversation and help parties understand each other’s perspectives.

Arbitration, on the other hand, involves an arbitrator who listens to both parties and then makes a decision on the dispute. This decision can be legally binding, depending on the agreement of the parties involved.

Conciliation is a process similar to mediation. However, a conciliator typically takes a more active role in suggesting solutions for the dispute.

The Advantages

Choosing a dispute-resolution center over traditional court litigation can have multiple benefits. The process is usually quicker and less formal than a court proceeding, which can reduce stress and anxiety for those involved. It’s also typically less expensive than hiring a lawyer and going to court.

Another key advantage is confidentiality. Unlike court trials, which are public, dispute-resolution proceedings are private. This can make parties more comfortable sharing their views and more willing to negotiate.

Lastly, dispute-resolution centers often allow for more creative and flexible solutions. In a court trial, a judge must follow the law strictly. In contrast, in dispute-resolution processes, parties have the opportunity to come up with unique solutions that meet their specific needs.

Encouraging the Use of Dispute-Resolution Centers

Promoting the use of dispute-resolution centers can contribute to a more harmonious society. Schools, community groups, and businesses can play an important role in raising awareness about these centers and the benefits they offer. They can also provide resources and training to help people develop the skills needed to effectively resolve disputes.


Dispute-resolution centers are valuable tools for promoting peaceful, efficient, and cost-effective resolution of conflicts. By providing a neutral environment and a range of services, these centers can help individuals and parties navigate their disputes in a way that promotes understanding, respect, and mutual satisfaction. Whether the conflict is personal or professional, these centers offer a path toward resolution that can be beneficial for all parties involved.

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 05/16/2023

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