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What are alternative dispute resolution methods?

On Behalf of | May 30, 2024 | Mediation |

People who have legal disputes often want to avoid having to go through a trial. Alternative dispute resolution methods can help to resolve these issues without having to go through the long and costly trial process.

There are two primary types of alternative dispute resolution that are possible. These are mediation and arbitration. While the goal of each is to resolve matters out of court, there are some differences between them.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary way to resolve a variety of civil matters. It involves a neutral third party, known as the mediator, who works to keep communication on track toward a solution. The mediator doesn’t impose a decision. The process is confidential, which allows parties to discuss issues openly without fear of information being disclosed in court.

This may help preserve relationships because it promotes cooperative problem-solving and allows parties to maintain control over the outcome. Mediation’s flexibility enables customized solutions that address the specific needs and interests of the parties involved.

Through guided negotiations, the mediator helps the parties explore possible solutions and move towards an agreement. Once an agreement is reached, it is usually put in writing and signed by both parties, becoming a binding contract.

What is arbitration?

Arbitration is a formal dispute resolution process where the disputing parties agree to submit their conflict to one or more arbitrators. This process is less formal than court proceedings but more structured than mediation.

In arbitration, the parties typically select the arbitrators, who are often experts in the relevant field of the dispute. Both parties present their cases, including evidence and witness testimonies. The arbitrator then reviews the submissions, applies relevant laws and makes a decision.

Many commercial contracts include arbitration clauses that require disputes to be resolved through arbitration rather than litigation. The advantages of arbitration include confidentiality, speed and the expertise of the arbitrator.

It’s best to consider the benefits of alternative dispute resolution as they apply to a specific case. This may help the company or individual to determine if avoiding trial is a viable option.