25 Apr Mediation vs. Arbitration: What is The Difference?
Some people may mistakenly think that mediation and arbitration are synonymous with one another, and while it’s true there are some similarities between these two processes, the differences are considerable. Both mediation and arbitration utilize a neutral third party to oversee the dispute outside of the court system, and both are alternatives to traditional litigation. In some cases, both mediation and arbitration can be binding on the parties.
In mediation, a single agreed upon mediator is selected to assist in facilitating a discussion between two disputing parties to ultimately come to an agreeable resolution on both sides in a more informal environment.
Arbitration, however, has an agreed upon arbitrator taking on the role of a judge, hearing evidence, making decisions, and issuing opinions. In some arbitration cases, the neutral third party is a panel with both sides of the dispute selecting their preferred arbitrator, then the arbitrators themselves selecting a third to join the panel so a majority vote would prevail if necessary.
While mediation seeks mutual agreement through facilitated discussion between the parties, arbitration imposes rules by the arbitrator making decisions on their behalf. In arbitration, one of both of the parties may end up dissatisfied with that decision of the arbitrator.
In some cases, a judge may order a dispute to go through an alternative dispute resolution before continuing in the courtroom. Alternative dispute resolution generally indicates arbitration or mediation, and can many times lead to an acceptable and agreeable resolution for all involved without the need for time consuming and costly litigation in a formal court setting.
In the Eighth Judicial District Court every contested civil case is reviewed by the Alternative Dispute Resolution Office, with 75% of cases that are assigned to arbitration being successfully resolved. Parties in District Court can bypass assigned arbitration by agreeing to participate in mediation. According to the United States Department of Justice, in 2017 55% of cases were resolved by court-ordered alternative dispute resolution, and 75% of cases were resolved by parties voluntarily seeking alternative dispute resolution.
For more information on Alternative Dispute Resolution in Clark County, CLICK HERE.
So, mediation and arbitration, although having a different procedure, has a similar and fairly successful goal of resolving disputes between parties.