Parallelism in Social and Justice Policy: A Comparison of Self-Help and Alternative Dispute Resolution Self-Help and Alternative Dispute Resolution are recent concepts in the social respective justice policy. This paper deals with their similarities. In the first part the criticism of welfare state and of judicial conflict resolution as weil as the proposed resolution to these problems – Self-Help and Informal Justice – are analyzed and their common dimensions are shown. The second part places these two concepts in the framework of the debates about “new” subsidiarity and about reflexive law. The ideological background and the limits of both approaches are portrayed. In the third part the author draws attention to the danger of a conservative instrumentalization of both concepts aiming at the legitimation of reprivatization of social tasks and problems. She presents evidence for her thesis from the Berlin-Senate’s Self-Help-Policy, from the American Experience with Informal Justice, and from recent German attempts to institutionalize out-of-court conflict resolution. Finally, the crises in social and justice policies are interpreted as manifestations of a “Colonization of the Lifeworld”. However, Habermas’ proposal to reduce state functions to “law as an Institution” (i. e. to the regulation of conflict resolution procedures) is rejected.