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There’s a lot that could go wrong when people or businesses have a legal disagreement. While some may enter a mutual agreement, both parties must get attorneys involved to help negotiate or file a lawsuit. In some cases, others would go straight to court and settle their issues in the courtroom. 

Seeing as these can be stressful events, it’s wise to look for other options to help manage the issue. With that said, it’s good to consider alternative dispute resolution methods like arbitration and mediation. However, these two have important differences that you should note. 

In this article, we’ll dig deeper into the difference between arbitration and mediation, highlighting important factors that play a huge role in your case. 

The Basics of Arbitration and Mediation

Arbitration can be referred to as a mini-trial. This is great for situations where your lawsuit is ready to go to trial, but you want to avoid holding this in a traditional courtroom. So, in this case, instead of having a judge, a single or panel of arbitrators will preside over the arbitration session. 

On the other hand, mediation is the attempt to settle a legal dispute with the participation of a third party or mediator. Their job is to find points of agreement and make both parties agree on a fair result. 

Another difference between arbitration and mediation is their formality, which can be an issue in some cases. Of course, courtrooms provide a more formal approach, making the proceedings extremely stressful for individuals. 

When it comes to arbitration, you can still abide by a formal set of rules, but it will feel less formal than a traditional trial. Alternatively, a mediation session is far less formal than a trial and arbitration. 

Now, let’s move on to the evidence presented. For arbitrations, just like traditional trials, you will need to present evidence. There may be a discovery period in some arbitration proceedings where parties will need to exchange documents and take dispositions. 

As for mediation sessions, you’re focusing more on negotiating a settlement. While you may present evidence, the sessions really focus on discussing viewpoints about a certain disagreement. 

And finally, probably one of the biggest differences between arbitration and mediation is the result. Mediation could end with a negotiated agreement or with no agreement. In these cases, the facilitator doesn’t force a decision on any of the parties; however, both parties need to settle on an agreement. 

On the contrary, arbitration is quite similar to a court trial, and the arbitrators need to make a binding decision. With that said, some parties can’t appeal an arbitrator’s decision. 

The Bottom Line: Knowing The Difference to Find What Works For You

Seeing as arbitration and mediation are quite different, it’s important to bring in lawyers to help support you and guide you through your cases. Depending on the severity of your situation, they’ll help you choose the best option that will provide you with the best settlement or results. 

How Can We Help You?

If you’re looking for lawyers who can assist with alternative dispute resolutions, you’ve come to the right place.

The lawyers of McCallum, Hoaglund & McCallum, LLP have a combined 75 years of experience in law practice. Our expert team passionately seeks justice for our clients and provides legal services, ranging from complex business litigations to construction law, medical malpractice defense to employment litigation, and more. 

Learn more about our services today!