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Arbitration Archives

What is the Difference Between Arbitration and Mediation?

Both Mediation and Arbitration is called Alternate Dispute Resolution which means that they are both a way to avoid a formal trial before a Judge. Both are ways for litigants to retain more control over their case and over their lives.
In Arbitration, the parties hire a private judge to hear their case. There are many ex-judges who can be hired to do either mediation or arbitration. Arbitration can usually allow the parties to finish their case quicker than if they are litigating in the traditional court because the parties, not the court, decide when to schedule the Arbitration. Arbitration is usually a less formal trial than a traditional trial before a District Judge. Often the Rules of Procedure and Evidence are more relaxed, thereby making the trial go faster. Before the date of the Arbitration Hearing, the parties will agree on the rules of Arbitration and will sign that agreement before the Arbitration starts. In Arbitration, the parties' attorneys present evidence and information to the Arbitrator and at the end of the Arbitration hearing the Arbitration Judge has the power to make a final decision in the case. That final decision is binding upon the parties just like if there had been a trial before a District Judge.
In mediation, a trained mediator acts as a neutral third party to help both parties negotiate a settlement. The mediator will often help the parties come up with different options to help with the settlement of the case. A mediator does not have the power to make a final order or make a final decision in the case. The case is only over once both parties have come to an agreement regarding the contested issues. Often there are many offers and counteroffers exchanged between the parties before a settlement is reached. If the parties do come to an agreement, they along with their attorneys will sign the agreement. This is called a Mediated Settlement Agreement. Once all parties and all attorneys have signed the agreement, the mediator will sign it too. Then the agreement will be filed with the court and once the agreement has been filed with the court it is nearly impossible for either party to change their mind. The agreement is irrevocable. 

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