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SUMMARY

  • 1. A major function of law is to help settle disputes. Terms such as conflict resolution and dispute settlement all refer to this important function of law. Although law may help settle disputes, it does not deal with the underlying causes of conflict and does not reduce tension or antagonism between the aggrieved parties.
  • 2. Nonlegal methods of dispute resolution include violence, rituals, shaming and ostracism, supernatural agencies, "lumping it," avoidance, negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. In the United States and other industrialized countries, lumping behavior, avoidance, and negotiation are frequent responses to dispute situations.
  • 3. Adjudication is a public and formal method of dispute resolution and is best exemplified by courts. Court decisions have an either/or character, and the adversary nature of court proceedings can aggravate the antagonism between the parties in a case.
  • 4. As a result of social developments, the increased availability of legal mechanisms for conflict resolution, and the creation of legally actionable rights and remedies, there is a growing demand for court services in dispute resolution. However, some authors challenge the notion that the dispute-processing function of the courts has increased in recent years as a result of social and economic changes.
  • 5. To qualify for the use of court services, at the minimum plaintiffs must be able to demonstrate justiciability and standing. Because of these standards, not all disputes and other issues are eligible for legal action.
  • 6. Those who have only occasional recourse to the courts are called one-shotters, and those who are engaged in much similar litigation over time are designated repeat players.
  • 7. Individuals tend to be one-shotters, while organizations tend to be repeat players. Repeat players ordinarily have several advantages in any of the legal disputes with which they become involved.
  • 8. Many types of litigation occur in campus settings. These types generally fall into three relationship contexts: faculty-administration, student-faculty, and student- administration.
  • 9. When nonlegal methods of collection fail, creditors are likely to enlist the courts in the collection process. Of the legal devices available for collecting the judgments, garnishment of wages is used most frequently. A characteristic of most civil suits for debts is that the plaintiff usually wins by default.
  • 10. Disputes between organizations cover a wide spectrum of participants and controversies. Public-interest law firms have been involved in many interorganizational disputes. A focus of much public-interest law during the past few decades has been the environment, with several national organizations using litigation to improve many aspects of the environment.
 
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