The Difference between Mediation and ArbitrationSep. 2, 2016
Mediation and arbitration are similar situations in which a neutral third person is brought in to preside over a legal dispute and bring the disputing parties to an acceptable agreement outside of court. We at Lord & Associates can understand why the two can be confusing to those not familiar with these two methods of settlement involving legal issues. But that's why we're here: To give you a better understanding and leave no gray area between mediation and arbitration before you make a consultation with a personal injury attorney in Minneapolis, MN.
Arbitration involves one arbitrator that both parties can agree with to oversee the case. In some cases, conflicting parties opt for a tribunal in which each party chooses one arbitrator and then the arbitrators choose another and decide the verdict by voting. In a binding arbitration, the parties waive their right to trial and agree that the arbitrators decision is final. A non-binding arbitration, on the other hand, leaves the parties free to appeal the decision in court if the arbitration is unsatisfactory.
Arbitration is usually used when the parties would like to have person decide who should win the dispute but without the formality, cost, and time deciding it in court. It has some of the same functions of a court, such as lawyers being able to question witnesses and bringing in experts to support the theory of the case of each party. The arbitrators view all the evidence presented by each party and then submit a written decision called an award to the party in whose favor they rule.
Common in personal injury cases and domestic disputes such as divorce and child custody, mediation includes a third person who is a trained mediator and is hired to review the dispute and then work with the parties to devise a solution that everyone can agree upon. Unlike arbitration, there's only one mediator and they cannot act as the judge on the case but, instead, they act as a facilitator to help the parties to reach a happy medium. The mediator can be court-appointed by a judge or hired by thequarreling parties, but the mediator isn't partial to either party or a particular outcome of the case. Although it is not required that mediators have any legal training, most mediators in personal injury cases are lawyers and they are prohibited from giving legal advice or making any legal conclusions as to the merits of the case, i.e., the mediator should not take the side of either party during mediation. The mediation will end regardless of whether the parties settle on an agreement or are deadlocked. And as the mediator has no final say, the parties still retain their rights to go to court if they choose to do so.