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Federal Aviation Regulations

Appendix A to Part 17 — Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

A. The FAA dispute resolution procedures encourage the parties to protests and contract disputes to use ADR as the primary means to resolve protests and contract disputes, pursuant to the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 1996, Pub. L. 104–320, 5 U.S.C. 570–579, and Department of Transportation and FAA policies to utilize ADR to the maximum extent practicable. Under the procedures presented in this part, the Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition would encourage parties to consider ADR techniques such as case evaluation, mediation, or arbitration.

B. ADR encompasses a number of processes and techniques for resolving protests or contract disputes. The most commonly used types include:

(1) Mediation. The Neutral or Compensated Neutral ascertains the needs and interests of both parties and facilitates discussions between or among the parties and an amicable resolution of their differences, seeking approaches to bridge the gaps between the parties' respective positions. The Neutral or Compensated Neutral can meet with the parties separately, conduct joint meetings with the parties' representatives, or employ both methods in appropriate cases.

(2) Neutral Evaluation. At any stage during the ADR process, as the parties may agree, the Neutral or Compensated Neutral will provide a candid assessment and opinion of the strengths and weaknesses of the parties' positions as to the facts and law, so as to facilitate further discussion and resolution.

(3) Minitrial. The minitrial resembles adjudication, but is less formal. It is used to provide an efficient process for airing and resolving more complex, fact-intensive disputes. The parties select principal representatives who should be senior officials of their respective organizations, having authority to negotiate a complete settlement. It is preferable that the principals be individuals who were not directly involved in the events leading to the dispute and who, thus, may be able to maintain a degree of impartiality during the proceeding. In order to maintain such impartiality, the principals typically serve as “judges” over the mini-trial proceeding together with the Neutral or Compensated Neutral. The proceeding is aimed at informing the principal representatives and the Neutral or Compensated Neutral of the underlying bases of the parties' positions. Each party is given the opportunity and responsibility to present its position. The presentations may be made through the parties' counsel and/or through some limited testimony of fact witnesses or experts, which may be subject to cross-examination or rebuttal. Normally, witnesses are not sworn in and transcripts are not made of the proceedings. Similarly, rules of evidence are not directly applicable, though it is recommended that the Neutral or Compensated Neutral be provided authority by the parties' ADR agreement to exclude evidence which is not relevant to the issues in dispute, for the sake of an efficient proceeding. Frequently, minitrials are followed either by direct one-on-one negotiations by the parties' principals or by meetings between the Neutral/Compensated Neutral and the parties' principals, at which the Neutral/Compensated Neutral may offer his or her views on the parties' positions ( i.e., Neutral Evaluation) and/or facilitate negotiations and ultimate resolution via Mediation.

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