A person who desires justice cannot get what they want. Sadly our courts follow the “justice delayed is justice denied” mentality. That is why most people do not get justice whenever something wrong happens against them. In some cases, the longevity of case duration makes the victims agitated. In others, their pockets fail to provide any legal assistance because court procedures are expensive. In worst scenarios, corruption and nepotism make things harder for the average Joe to get justice. In the end, they get disillusioned that they’ll ever get justice.
Thus Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR, in short, is given priority whenever a dispute arises. By legal language, ADR is a method to sort out a dispute without the requirement of courts and litigation. In most legal situations, a third party acts as the pseudo judge. In layman’s terms, a third party will be the one listening to the arguments of both parties. They announce their final decision after listening to both sides like a judge[i].
ADR has the upper hand against the courts in cost and time because they’re efficient in both departments. They’re rigid, autonomous, provide satisfactory results, neutrality, and confidentiality. At the same time, the parties have limited bargaining powers. They do not create precedents, lack checks, and balance systems, and parties can back out from the dispute[ii].
ADR has methods that include arbitration, mediation, conciliation, negotiation, etc. All methods save negotiation require a third party as a final decision maker (negotiation requires only two parties). In India, we have the Lok Adalat system that provides dispute resolution to those who are socio-economically disadvantaged. The Lok Adalat system came up under Articles 14 and 39A of the Indian Constitution, alongside the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987[iii].
Understanding Privatisation of ADR and its advantages
Let me first talk about privatization. The concept highlights public businesses owned by a private or non-governmental entity. For instance, Walt Disney Company was owned by Robert Iger, a private person. In economics and political science textbooks, the word is akin to capitalism. When the upper echelons in the government brought reforms in 1991, it drastically improved the economy[iv].
Privatization has brought various improvements in ADR and the legal realm in general. For starters, more healthy competition among the law firms representing their respective parties in the dispute. Another point is that it makes the law firms more efficient in their services. Lastly, it makes the law firms have long-term goals and ambitions while working in ADR[v].
ADR tribunals make decisions on cases that are based on merit. It is a more efficient system that prevents any embroilment in the courts. Private organizations wanted more flexibility and competition, which the suits in the judiciary might fail to provide. Lawyers who want to escape burdening regulations will prefer arbitration, which is a superbly great asset in the free market[vi].
Critique of Privatization of ADR
However, that is where the advantages end. Privatization has led to increasing numbers of companies abusing ADR systems. Many companies, opt for ADR to save their skins. Like in the Riot Games case[vii], many workers are against the video game company resorting to arbitration to silence their detractors. This is despite serious accusations of gender discrimination and unequal pay[viii].
Another endeavor, Ubisoft, has been chastised for charges of sexual misconduct. Various workers expressed that the association has verbally and sexually discriminated because of their race or gender. They even ignore the plight of the workers to charge the convicts. This is appalling, yet the blameworthy complaints have been mentioned in various reports[ix].
The biggest monetization scandal of 2017 was the Star Wars Battlefront 2 scandal. Gamers were not happy when they found out that the game required 40 hours to unlock a hero in multiplayer mode. They were further upset when the game was forcing them to pay real-life money for progression and in-game skins. Things were so bad that US Lawmakers wanted the ban of video game monetization systems. One US politician even commented that the game entraps children to gambling machines disguised as video games. In light of the scandal, Belgium and China banned loot-boxes, and the Dutch Court fined the said game’s publisher Electronic Arts 10 million Euros for implementing an aggressive monetization system in their video games[x][xi][xii].
The greatest ADR instance of 2021 was the Activision Blizzard Case. The organization acquired a reputation for some unacceptable explanation, that is the sexual wrongdoing against the female workers. The specialists were in banshee mode after they blamed the suits in the organization for their absence of activity. The male colleagues have committed oppressive behavior against their female counterparts, for example making rape jokes before them. The last option did the greater part of the work while the male specialists were inebriated more often than not and were playing computer games. Bigotry and nepotism additionally ruled in the organization where a non-white individual would not get many benefits in the organization. In one situation, a laborer ended it all because of various badgering by her boss during a transport trip and the organization’s passionless conduct. Things got so terrible that the State of California stepped in to research the matter[xiii][xiv].
The company, to save face decided to respond in a very half-baked manner. They claimed that the research made by the State of California is “inaccurate”, and they have worked with the said entity. The ADR lawsuit is going to be very unfortunate for Activision Blizzard because their reputation was already in shamble because of the Blitzchung controversy[xv]. At the same time, these are severe allegations, and the case could go a hundred and eighty degrees anytime. However, if these allegations turned out to be true, then they could permanently damage Activision’s reputation as a company. They also have to pay a hefty amount to their workers who were aggrieved by the incompetent suits[xvi][xvii].
Conclusion: Should Privatisation affect the work of ADR
Another disadvantage of the privatization of ADR is the rich-poor divide. Privatization might benefit the people who are rich or in the upper-middle-class family. However, it is a different story for underprivileged people. The constitution ensures that everyone regardless of any background is equal before the law. Furthermore, Article 39A ensures that those who are socio-economically wrecked should get free legal aid.
ADR is the main instrument close by Judicial Activision. It diminishes the weights of the courts and guarantees that a distressed individual gets equity. It likewise gives acknowledgment to the attorneys addressing the party. India is a goldmine for ADR, which could give numerous valuable open doors to attorneys. They don’t have to stress over the extended periods in court when they can simply tackle their matter through private means. For this reason, we want this framework to make our overall set of laws, more sound and equipped.
That is why Lok Adalats were set up, so that those disadvantaged in society, would get swift and easy justice. The people are already disillusioned with the courts as it is not only slow and expensive, but it also favors the rich like in the case of the Black Buck case[xviii]. Privatization is important for the country’s development. However, it should not jeopardize the people’s plight to get justice as we have seen in Activision Blizzard Case[xix] or the Riot Games Case.
[i] Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Meaning & Definition, (Sept. 12, 2014), www.lawnn.com/alternative-dispute-resolution-adr-meaning-definition/.
[ii] Explain the advantages and disadvantages of alternative dispute resolution, The Lawyers & Jurists (Jan. 2, 2022), www.lawyersnjurists.com/article/advantages-disadvantages-alternative-dispute-resolution/.
[iii] Sucuri WebSite Firewall, Access Denied (Sept. 25, 2020), www.insightsonindia.com/2020/09/25/lok-adalat/.
[iv] Attention Required!, Cloudflare www.toppr.com/guides/commercial-knowledge/government-policies-for-business-growth/privatization-in-india/.
[v] Advantages and Disadvantages of Privatization, (Apr. 2, 2021), commercemates.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-privatization/.
[vi] Dr Matthew Parish, Privatisation of Dispute Resolution: A Legacy of the Twentieth Century, (Jan. 29, 2015), www.linkedin.com/pulse/privatisation-dispute-resolution-legacy-twentieth-century-parish/.
[vii] Kellen Browning, Riot Games to Pay $100 Million in Gender Discrimination Case, The New York Times (Dec. 28, 2021), www.nytimes.com/2021/12/28/business/riot-games-gender-discrimination-case.html.
[viii] Marie Dealessandri, Riot Games pushes for arbitration in gender discrimination lawsuit, GamesIndustry.biz (Feb. 1, 2021), www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2021-01-29-riot-games-seeks-arbitration-in-gender-discrimination-lawsuit.
[ix] Bloomberg, Are you a robot? www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-21/ubisoft-sexual-misconduct-scandal-harassment-sexism-and-abuse.
[x]Video Games: An Overview, www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-4271-video-games-an-overview.html.
[xi] Anish Bachchan, PATENT 101 LEVEL 1: UNDERSTANDINGPATENT IN THE AGGRESSIVE MONETIZATION OF VIDEO GAMES, Brain Booster Articles (Sept. 24, 2021), https://wixlabs-pdf-dev.appspot.com/assets/pdfjs/web/viewer.html?file=%2Fpdfproxy%3Finstance%3D2_aMLBQUie5NNr_cPh2qgDLBfqF-EF2wRat1wHYuX_Q.eyJpbnN0YW5jZUlkIjoiY2Y3ZGQ0NDktZTA4MC00MDIzLThhYzktM2E0MDYzNmQ5MmU2IiwiYXBwRGVmSWQiOiIxM2VlMTBhMy1lY2I5LTdlZmYtNDI5OC1kMmY5ZjM0YWNmMGQiLCJtZXRhU2l0ZUlkIjoiOGJiZGVkMTktNzc0NC00NjA4LTg1NTktYzNkYzcwMGQ1NzNlIiwic2lnbkRhdGUiOiIyMDIyLTAxLTE3VDE3OjM3OjI2LjYwMFoiLCJkZW1vTW9kZSI6ZmFsc2UsImFpZCI6ImE0Mzg4NTRkLTA1ZmUtNDhlYi1hNjdhLTg1ZTZiYTM2NGNkZiIsImJpVG9rZW4iOiI0NGMwMzk1MC05N2M0LTA2MmItMGY5MC1mOTljMTM2MGM1ZDgiLCJzaXRlT3duZXJJZCI6ImUwYTQzOWNmLWY3ODYtNDVlZC04NWYzLWY1NGU3YjJmYTE5OSJ9%26compId%3Dcomp-kva785rb%26url%3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Fdocs.wixstatic.com%2Fugd%2Fe0a439_2d847f9fb2be4df696bd3ba136af437b.pdf#page=1&links=true&originalFileName=PATENT%20101%20LEVEL%201%20UNDERSTANDING%20PATENT%20IN%20THE%20AGGRESSIVE%20MONETIZATION%20OF%20VIDEO%20GAMES&locale=en&allowDownload=true&allowPrinting=true.
[xii] Anish Bachchan, Current Issues that Plagued the Video Game Industry, Medium (Jan. 6, 2021), anishbala147.medium.com/current-issues-that-plagued-the-video-game-industry-5067de7db0a9.
[xiii] Letters: It’s time to unite against sexism in gaming, Los Angeles Times (Aug. 7, 2021), www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2021-08-07/activision-blizzard-sexism-in-gaming.
[xiv] Arbitration in the Video Game Industry in Reference to Activision Blizzard Case:, ADR Association Blog (Oct. 5, 2021), soladrupes553129785.wordpress.com/2021/10/05/arbitration-in-the-video-game-industry-in-reference-to-activision-blizzard-case/.
[xv] Anish Bachchan, Current Issues that Plagued the Video Game Industry, Medium (Jan. 6, 2021), anishbala147.medium.com/current-issues-that-plagued-the-video-game-industry-5067de7db0a9.
[xvi] Arbitration in the Video Game Industry in Reference to Activision Blizzard Case:, ADR Association Blog (Oct. 5, 2021), soladrupes553129785.wordpress.com/2021/10/05/arbitration-in-the-video-game-industry-in-reference-to-activision-blizzard-case/.
[xvii] Environmental Hazard: The Concept Of Mass Tort Litigation, Brillopedia (Jan. 16, 2022), www.brillopedia.net/post/environmental-hazard-the-concept-of-mass-tort-litigation.
[xviii] Se, 1998-2018: A timeline of the blackbuck poaching ca (Apr. 4, 2018), economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/1998-2016-a-timeline-of-the-blackbuck-killing-case/articleshow/53377957.cms.
[xix] Arbitration in the Video Game Industry in Reference to Activision Blizzard Case:, ADR Association Blog (Oct. 5, 2021), soladrupes553129785.wordpress.com/2021/10/05/arbitration-in-the-video-game-industry-in-reference-to-activision-blizzard-case/.