If there’s one thing the recent Johannesburg Global Pound Conference will be remembered for — other than its innovative use of technology, including real-time voting on key issues — it’s the sense that the time has come for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to take root in SA’s civil and commercial dispute resolution spheres. Speaker after speaker made the point that something has to give in our overloaded and largely adversarial justice system of winners and losers. As Vasu Gounden, founder of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes, put it: "I think we will reach a turning point in the next 10 years because of two factors: the population explosion and rapid urbanisation. Caseloads will grow exponentially as a result, and ADR will go mainstream." Adding to the momentum for alternatives are the financial and relationship costs of adversarial dispute resolution. This was extensively discussed at the conference, part of a global series that included other hos...

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