For the purposes of this paper, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is defined as a voluntary method for dispute resolution outside normal judicial determination. Negotiations, Arbitration, and Conciliation/Mediation1 are well-known means of ADR but there are also many lesser–known forms that come within the general term. In other words, ADR encompasses a myriad of systems utilized for potential resolution of controversies between parties, generally beyond the purview of national courts.
Over the last two decades a number of electronic forms of instantaneous communications have developed. Many of these are now being applied to ADR. As a result, the term "Online Dispute Resolution" (ODR) has been formulated to cover this use.