Civil litigation can be daunting, but If you are facing a lawsuit, there are options to consider in place of going to court. In some situations, you might consider resolving the issue through mediation or arbitration.
What are the differences between these two processes?
Mediation is a popular way for people to resolve their business differences. Disputing parties meet with a mediator, a neutral third party whose goal is to aid in communication, keep the negotiations on track and guide the parties toward resolution. If the parties can arrive at a settlement that is satisfactory to both, it will become a written agreement. The process is often successful since the parties involved are in more control of the outcome and do not have to abide by the decisions a judge would make.
In arbitration, the disputing parties present evidence and arguments to the arbitrator, also a neutral third party, for their consideration. The parties’ lawyers are present and can question witnesses. The arbitrator is often an active attorney or a retired judge who has the authority to make a binding decision on the matter accompanied by a written arbitration award. The award is enforceable in all U.S. courts and the parties must abide by it.
Benefits to consider
Although both mediation and arbitration take place in a private setting outside of court, the latter bears a certain similarity to formal litigation. However, both processes can be more cost-effective than litigation. They also take much less time than a trial does, which can go on for months.
While mediation and arbitration can be suitable options for many situations, there are circumstances that might warrant civil litigation. An attorney can advise on the benefits and drawbacks of considering an alternative dispute resolution method for your case.