Mediation vs Arbitration
Posted on November 11, 2011 by Brent Motchan
An often asked question that arises in the ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) area is the difference between Mediation and Arbitration.
Mediation is a voluntary interactive process which involves the parties and a third party neutral. The neutral is generally trained to facilitate discussion and with negotiation skills with a goal of helping the parties reach a mutually agreeable solution to their dispute. The mediator unlike a judge or an arbitrator does not have the power or authority to render a decision for or against either of the parties. Should the parties reach agreement the mediator often works with the parties to draft the terms and conditions of the settlement. If the parties are unsuccessful in reaching a settlement, the avenues of resolving their dispute may include arbitration or litigation.
Arbitration is another ADR process where the parties again work with a third party neutral. The neutral may be one person or the neutral may be a tribunal often comprised of three arbitrators. In the arbitration process the parties give the authority to the arbitrator to in fact make the decisions. The arbitrator conducts a hearing similar to a court proceeding where witnesses are sworn in and evidence is presented. Once the parties have presented their case a decision by the arbitrator is provided in order to decide the prevailing party on the issues in dispute. Generally the decision of an arbitrator is binding on the parties and not subject to appeal except under limited circumstances.