People generally seek to avoid litigation due to its drain on their wallet, time, and emotions. Cases can be unpredictable. You won’t know the outcome until the judge or jury makes a decision. Because of its efficiency, alternative dispute resolution processes, such as mediation and arbitration, have become popular. However, before moving forward with any of these options, you should understand what each process entails.

The Difference Between Arbitration and Mediation

Mediation and arbitration are both alternatives to the litigation process, and both can move to litigation if negotiations fail. A third-party oversees both processes and both can be binding. However, many use arbitration as a binding method and mediation as a non-binding process, which places arbitration as a replacement for the trial process.

Arbitration generally can utilize a single arbitrator or multiple arbitrators as a judging panel. The arbitrator or panel makes decisions based on the evidence and issues a written opinion. Most arbitration panels have three arbitrators – one chosen by each side, and then one selected by the chosen arbitrators. Each case is decided by a majority vote.

Mediation is different. It normally uses one mediator to facilitate discussion and encourage dispute resolution. This mediator does not decide the outcome of the case.

Mediation as a Part of Litigation

Mediation is becoming more popular as a part of litigation. For example, some states require that a lawsuit try mediation before moving on to trial because it has been so effective in reducing the number of trials. This makes it a much more cost-effective and efficient option versus litigation.

Mediation is often successful because each party confidentially presents their case to a neutral third party. A mediator then tries to limit the issues and put them in perspective. Participants have a chance to vent to the mediator about what happened while also listening to the other party’s point of view. Because mediation proceedings are neutral and often more relaxed than litigation, it may reduce hostility and the desire to continue with the court case.

You don’t have to wait until a dispute becomes a lawsuit in order to try mediation. It’s becoming more acceptable to use pre-lawsuit mediation to resolve disputes before turning to litigation. In addition to being non-binding and confidential, mediation is also a quicker process and costs less than traditional litigation.

Most certified mediators are lawyers, but it should be noted that they don’t give out legal advice during the mediation. They also will not offer legal opinions on the merits of either party’s situation. If the parties reach an agreement, then they are responsible for putting the terms and conditions in writing.

To bring a dispute into mediation or arbitration, you can get in touch with an organization that handles them. You may also contact an attorney to discuss the benefits of each process versus litigation. Your attorney should be able to help you find a mediator or start arbitration proceedings.

If you’re looking to settle a legal dispute, arbitration and mediation can be viable alternatives to litigation. Monarch Law can help you decide which resolution is best for your particular situation. Call us today at 860-828-2166.