Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Mediation is a popular form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Many people think formal conflict resolution necessarily involves judges, courts and attorneys. While litigation may be appropriate in some cases, it is not your only option. ADR is comprised of two primary methods that differ greatly from litigation and include mediation and arbitration.
What is Litigation?
A legal process where attorneys present a case with evidence to a judge who is substantially empowered to determine the outcome. Clients have little control or influence in the process aside from choosing an attorney and providing evidence. Participants are legally obligated to comply with the judge’s ruling, however, in practices disputants sometimes resort to subversive behaviors to delay collection or compliance with legal verdicts. It is generally accepted that litigation does little to recruit buy-in from stakeholders making agreement compliance more difficult to sustain long-term.
What is Arbitration?
A formal process to settle disputes using a neutral third party whose decision the disputants agree to accept. Arbitration seeks to obtain a fair resolution of disputes based on the criteria defined by the participants. During arbitration, disputants present each side of the situation with supporting evidence directly to the arbitrator. The arbitrator decides the final outcome which is legally enforceable and stands without means for appeal or re-negotiation.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a formal process where disputants work with a neutral third party to negotiate settlement. Mediation differs significantly from arbitration or litigation as the disputants are responsible for identifying solutions and converging on an agreement. Mediation is non-binding and disputants may resort to litigation post-mediation, however, escalation is uncommon. More importantly, mediation is conciliatory and restorative leaving participants better positioned to coexist in shared communities or industries.