What is the difference between arbitration and mediation?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Traditional litigation often takes too much money and time for a client to get what is needed. There are other ways to solve a legal problem. This is called "Alternative Dispute Resolution" (ADR). Mediation and Arbitration are two of these alternatives.

Mediation is the process through which a trained professional is put in between the two arguing parties. This is often a third party who has nothing to do with either of the sides. This mediator is trained in skills such as deflective discussions, inductive inquiry, and problem solving conclusions. Hence, the mediator will invite the arguing parties to speak, will also direct the turns that each speaker takes, the length of time each will speak, and will determine whether one issue has been resolved so that the conversation can keep moving forward. It takes someone with experience in intrapersonal and interpersonal skills, in sensitive listening, and in problem solving to do this successfully.

Arbitration is allowing a third party to make the final decision regarding an issue without going to court. In fact, the professional conducting arbitration will act as both judge and jury. Like the mediator, the arbitrator is often a legal professional with experience in alternative dispute resolution, with ample knowledge of the law, and with additional experience in the subject at hand.

These interventions are confidential, agreed upon, and contracted with both parties signing for the service. These cases often involve domestic (family) disputes, business disagreements in contracts, and child custody issues.


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