Should National Human Rights Institutions Institutionalise Dispute Resolution?

Lorna McGregor, Rachel Murray, Shirley Shipman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
221 Downloads (Pure)


The UN has promoted the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) by national human rights institutions (NHRIs). This article critically examines this proposition by analysing the three assumptions that underlie it. First, that ADR is an appropriate means by which to resolve human rights disputes; second, that ADR should be provided in institutional form; third that an NHRI should play a role in the delivery of ADR. We argue that voluntary engagement with ADR is permissible subject to procedural and substantive standards of justice but identify the risk that the offer of ADR by an institution may turn into a de facto mandatory process if not set within a context in which the courts are also accessible. Rather than an outright rejection of a role for ADR in such circumstances, we examine the potential contributions an institution could make to redressing the deficiencies in access to justice landscape and identify the key factors states and other policymakers should take into account when determining which institution(s) assume a dispute resolution role.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-339
Number of pages31
JournalHuman Rights Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2019


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