Alternate Dispute Resolution Unit (ADRU)
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Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to a range of processes, including mediation, arbitration and negotiation, aimed at resolving conflicts and disputes in a manner that is more collaborative, less adversarial, and tailored to the parties’ needs, outside of traditional litigation. The rise of modern forms of ADR can be traced back to the 1970s in the US, triggered by an increasing dissatisfaction with the court system, litigation costs and lengthy proceedings, prompting the search for alternatives to litigation.

ADR has historical roots in Pakistan's milieu and therefore exhibits distinct nuances to its nature and application. Unlike many other countries where ADR is mostly used through formal independent processes or through court, ADR in Pakistan is also applied by police to resolve complaints which are civil or trivial in nature. As such, the police have been using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods informally, since long. However, Section 73 of the KP Police Act, 2017, for the first time provided legal cover for the use of ADR by police through the creation of Dispute Resolution Councils (DRC). Police Reforms Committee (PRC) constituted by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) and comprising retired and senior serving police officers, in its report on Police Reforms in Pakistan, recommended, inter alia, to replicate Section 73 of the KP Police Act, 2017 mutatis mutandis, in other provinces/regions as well. PRC also recommended measures to integrate ADR into policing to address non-criminal public complaints.

Serving as the secretariat to the National Police Management Board (NPMB) and the lead national agency on police reforms in Pakistan, NPB is assigned the implementation of these reforms. In this backdrop, as well as keeping in view the importance of ADR in the resolution of disputes, especially at the police station level, NPB has established the ADR UNIT to spearhead this effort with the following functions:



    1. Conduct a comprehensive review of the legal, policy, regulatory, and procedural framework governing ADR in the Criminal Justice System, identify gaps and propose recommendations;
    2. Analyze existing ADR practices, encapsulating best practices and lessons learned;
    3. Engage key stakeholders such as police, judiciary, prosecution, and bar associations to create a holistic understanding of various aspects of ADR in the criminal justice system, ensuring a well-informed approach;
    4. Develop SOPs and establish a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation framework to systematically measure the impact of the use of ADR in policing, providing insights for continuous improvement and effective implementation;
    5. Facilitate the legal referral of complaints suitable for ADR resolution. Develop and deliver ADR training content and resources for police officers, lawyers, the judiciary, and mediators;
    6. Develop protocols for the presentation of evidence and relevant information in cases where ADR is unsuccessful;
    7. Create and effectively disseminate audio/visual messages, arrange and organize workshops, seminars and trainings for awareness raising. Ensure that desired information is effectively disseminated to both internal and external stakeholders to foster a widespread understanding.