With more and more people turning to the courts to solve disputes, courts have become backlogged with cases. As a result, the courts have tried to fast-track cases by facilitating options for alternative dispute resolution. The two most common types of alternative dispute resolution are mediation and arbitration.
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution where a neutral third party, a mediator, helps two parties reach an agreement. The third party is supposed to be impartial and cannot make decisions as to who is right or wrong. Even if the parties cannot agree to resolve all of their problems, a mediator can help narrow them down so that the parties can take only the issues they cannot agree on to trial. Mediation is relatively inexpensive in comparison to paying legal fees for going to trial.
Arbitration is also a form of alternative dispute resolution. The difference between arbitration and mediation is that in arbitration, the parties plead their case in front of an arbitrator who decides the outcome. The arbitrator’s decision is binding on the parties, unlike in mediation, where the mediator only helps the parties reach an agreement. It can be difficult to overturn an arbitrator’s decision in many cases. Typically, parties will use arbitration because it was a process agreed to through a contract to avoid going through lengthy and expensive litigation. Many business and employment contracts have arbitration as their choice for dispute resolution because it is binding.
However, if the parties can agree, mediation is the best option. It gives the parties the freedom to craft their own terms and negotiate with one another. If you are in the middle of a legal dispute and you need help sorting out the issues, contact us for more information on how we can assist you with your case today.