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23 Alternatives to court

Download Alternatives to court (PDF File, 346kb)

1. Introduction

2. What alternatives are there to court?

3. Do I need a lawyer to use alternative dispute resolution?

4. How do I decide whether to use an alternative dispute resolution scheme?

5. How do alternative dispute resolution schemes work?

6. Mediation and conciliation

7. Adjudication and arbitration

8. Grievance and complaints procedure

9. Litigation

10. Negotiation

11. Ombudsmen

12. How much does alternative dispute resolution cost?

13. Dispute resolution services

Mediation for relationship and family problems

The Family Mediation Helpline
For details of family mediation providers in your area
phone: 0845 60 26 627

Mediation for problems with neighbours

You can find your nearest community mediation service through an internet search, or by asking your local council for a list of local mediation providers.

Mediation for problems at work

Provides conciliation, arbitration and mediation in employment disputes
phone: 08457 47 47 47

Mediation for problems with discrimination if you are disabled

Phone the Equality and Human Rights Commission for information and a referral.
In England: 08457 622 633
In Wales: 0845 604 8810

Mediation for other problems

AIMS (the Advice,Information and Mediation Service) is run by Age Concern and offers advice and mediation for problems with sheltered and retirement housing.
phone: 0845 600 2001

Mediation in disputes about special educational needs provision, or school exclusions, is often provided by independent local family or community mediation services. Your school or local education authority should be able to give you details.

The National Mediation Helpline

The National Mediation Helpline can answer general enquiries relating to mediation and put you in contact with accredited mediation providers.
phone: 0845 60 30 809

Adjudication and arbitration providers

The Independent Dispute Resolution Service (IDRS) provides adjudication and arbitration schemes for a range of trade associations.
phone: 020 7520 3800

Adjudication for problems with tenancy deposits

There are three government-authorised schemes providing adjudication for tenancy deposit disputes. Landlords and letting agents must be a member of one of these schemes.

The Deposit Protection Service
phone: 0870 7071 707

Tenancy Deposit Solutions
phone: 0871 703 0552

The Dispute Service
phone: 0845 226 7837


British and Irish Ombudsman Association
For information about public and private sector ombudsman schemes in the UK and Ireland, with contact details.
phone: 020 8894 9272

Estate Agents Ombudsman
For complaints about estate agents who are members of the scheme.
phone: 01722 333 306

The Financial Ombudsman Service
For complaints about financial services, including banks, building societies, investments and insurance
phone: 0845 080 1800

Health Service Ombudsman
For complaints about services provided through the NHS in England.
phone: 0845 015 4033

Housing Ombudsman Service
For complaints about housing provided by all registered social landlords, and some private landlords.
phone: 0845 7125 973

The Independent Case Examiner
For complaints about the Child Support Agency.
phone: 0845 606 0777
Typetalk: 18002 0151 801 8800

Legal Services Ombudsman
For complaints about the way the Law Society, Bar Council and other professional bodies deal with complaints about legal practitioners.
phone: 0845 601 0794

The Information Commissioner's Office
For complaints about data protection and freedom of information.
phone: 0845 630 60 60

Local Government Ombudsman (England)
For complaints about services provided by local authorities in England.
phone: 0845 602 1983

Parliamentary Ombudsman
For complaints about services provided by government departments in England.
phone: 0845 015 4033

Pensions Ombudsman
For complaints about the way pensions schemes are run.
phone: 020 7834 9144

Public Service Ombudsman for Wales
For complaints about local authorities, registered social landlords, the national health services and the National Assembly for Wales and the bodies it funds.
phone: 01656 641 150

Complaints about utilities providers

phone: 0845 906 0708

The Consumer Council for Water
phone: 0845 039 2837

Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS)
phone: 020 7520 3827

Office of the Telecommunications Ombudsman (Otelo)
phone: 0845 050 1614

14. Further help

15. About this leaflet

This leaflet is published by the Gurkha Free Legal Advice (LSC). It was written in association with the Advice Services Alliance.

Leaflet Version: November 2007

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