- Karnataka resolved over 1.5 lakh cases outside court between 2014 and 2019
- 70% of cases referred by Lok Adalats
- Bangalore leads in terms of people volunteering for out-of-court settlements
Over the past four and a half years, over 1.5 lakh cases in Karnataka have been resolved through alternative dispute resolution (ADR). This has made Karnataka, the state with the largest number of out-of-court settlements in south India.
According to data from the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG), the number of cases resolved through out-of-court settlements has been increasing consistently over the past few years.
Many of these cases are referred by courts for arbitration or mediation. 70% of cases resolved through ADR are cases referred by the Lok Adalat.
In terms of cases where people volunteer for out-of-court settlements, Delhi, Bangalore, and Chennai are the leading cities. At least 30 of the 40-50 cases that are dealt with by the Bangalore International Mediation, Arbitration, and Conciliation Centre (BIMACC) every day are from Bengaluru.
Out-Of-Court Settlements In Other States
With 1.4 lakh cases resolved in this way, Tamil Nadu has the second highest number of cases that reach out-of-court settlements in south India.
Andhra Pradesh resolved 89,201 cases out of court while Kerala and Telangana resolved less than 80,000 and 50,000 cases out of court respectively.
|State||Number of Settlements|
|Tamil Nadu||1.4 lakh|
What Is An Out-Of-Court Settlement?
Simply put, an out-of-court settlement refers to cases where two parties reach an agreement on an issue without needing a judge to make a decision. Two parties can reach an out-of-court settlement even when a court case is proceeding.
The most common way to reach an out-of-court settlement is through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). This refers to the resolution of disputes outside the courtroom.
ADR can be applied to civil, family, industrial or commercial disputes. It is less official than a court settlement but is less expensive and takes less time. The 5 common types of ADRs are:
Arbitration refers to cases where court involvement is restricted and both parties agree to a legally binding solution. In such cases, both parties submit their points of view to a person or panel appointed as arbitrators. The arbitrator’s decision is considered final only if both parties agree to it.
In this case, both parties meet individually with a conciliator to present their side of the argument. This is more flexible as each party can define the content, time and constitution of the conciliation procedures.
The conciliator doesn’t make the decision but generates options for both parties to reach a resolution. Neither party is obligated to follow the suggestions until the agreement is signed.
In this case, the mediator does not make the final decision. The decision is made by both concerned parties. The mediator only helps bring both parties together and control the discussions.
Mediators can help both parties communicate with each other and ensure that emotions do not get out of control. Mediation is often the chosen method of solving an issue when business partners of family members have a disagreement.
4. Neutral Evaluation
In the case of a neutral evaluation, both parties present their side of the case to an impartial person or evaluator. The evaluator must be an expert in the disputed matter.
He/she then goes over the strengths and weaknesses of each party and offer a possible court outcome. This outcome is not legally binding but may be used to reach a resolution on the case.
5. Settlement Conferences
As in the case of a mediator, a settlement officer does not come up with a solution himself but helps negotiate a resolution by helping both parties evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the case. Settlement conferences may be voluntary or ordered by a judge.