The Benefits of Mediation and Arbitration
I am a trained mediator and arbitrator. It takes skill to resolve a serious dispute by methods other than going to court for an all-out battle, an extremely costly process, both financially and emotionally.
Mediation is different than arbitration in this respect. The parties who agree to a mediation control the destiny of that process. In other words, if the parties choose not to agree, no one is going to force them to agree. The mediator acts as a facilitator. The mediator makes no final judgment which is binding on those who are going through the mediation process. Mediation normally takes place in a very informal setting where the parties involved can speak with the mediator in an atmosphere which is much more relaxed and comfortable than a courtroom. During a mediation, two different and separate rooms are used: one room for one party. For example, in an automobile collision situation where parties are trying to resolve a claim with an insurance company, the injured party and his or her attorney would be in one room and the insurance company representative and the driver of the other vehicle would be in another room. The mediator may speak with the injured person and his or her attorney first. Then the mediator will go into the other room and speak with the insurance adjuster and the insured. Many such separate discussions may occur in an effort to resolve the case.
If both parties are willing and reasonable, and a little bit flexible in these mediations, satisfying results can be achieved.
Arbitration, on the other hand, involves the appointment of an individual who will make a final determination. The arbitrator listens to the evidence presented and then makes a ruling. That ruling is binding on the parties unless there is a process to appeal the arbitrator's decision. That appeal process may vary depending on the type of arbitration that is being employed.
I am a firm believer in both mediation and arbitration. I have been a part of some very extraordinary results using the mediation process in particular.