The Differences Between Mediation, Arbitration and Litigation

Mediation Arbitration and Litigation

What Are Mediation, Arbitration and Litigation?

When you require legal assistance to resolve a disagreement, it can feel overwhelming trying to understand how the process works. There are three approaches to consider, all of which aim to achieve a reasonable and fair solution to your dispute.

The primary difference between mediation vs arbitration is the process employed to resolve your conflict. The main distinction between arbitration vs litigation is that the former occurs outside of the courts, whereas the latter happens in a court trial.

Which Method Is Ideal for Your Dispute?

There are numerous aspects involved in any legal claim. Many elements contribute to how you go about finding a viable solution. One crucial consideration is assessing the type of disagreement you need to settle.

Types of Cases

Conflicts that require legal resolution arise for many different reasons, and some claims are better suited to specific procedures than others:

  • Mediation: This is an informal process that does not require a judge or jury. Parties enlist the assistance of an impartial third party to help them reach a solution. Some states mandate mediation procedures for certain kinds of disagreements before parties can go to court. Good candidates for this approach include noncriminal issues, such as:
    • Divorce and child custody conflicts
    • Disputes between neighbors
    • Disagreements within a business partnership
  • Arbitration: In this more formal alternative to mediation, a neutral third party hears both sides of the argument and renders a decision. This process can be a useful alternative to court trials for issues like:
    • Accident disputes
    • Injury claims
  • Litigation: In this action, a judge resolves your conflict during legal proceedings within the court system. Certain situations require litigation, including cases regarding:
    • The inability to pay debts
    • The termination or validity of rental contracts
    • Intellectual property rights
    • Property rights that can only go to sale or direct legal heirs
    • Family law matters
    • Life, health or disability issues

Benefits of Each Process

You have unique needs and desires regarding your legal argument. Consider the advantages of each resolution method to decide which one you want to pursue.

Mediation vs Arbitration

When you must decide between these two methods, there are several things to assess:

  • Mediation is a nonbinding, informal means that enlists an unbiased party to facilitate communication between you and the disagreeing party. It can be beneficial if you want to:
    • Attempt to achieve a quick settlement
    • Reduce your legal expenses
    • Maintain control of the process
    • Keep details of the disagreement private
  • Arbitration is a more formal procedure that utilizes a neutral third party who hears both sides and then determines a solution. This method may be right for cases in which there are:
    • Possible compliance concerns
    • Issues involving domestic violence
    • Parties who are uncomfortable speaking up for what they want or need
    • Parties who are unwilling to compromise their position

Arbitration vs Litigation

If you need a more formal option than mediation, you should assess the elements and benefits of each of the following actions:

  • Arbitration procedures happen outside of the courtroom but involve a third party making the final decision, similar to a judge or jury. Disputes settled in this manner are always civil in nature and often have a binding resolution. The advantages of arbitration over litigation include:
    • Minimized costs
    • Reduced resolution time
    • Private settlement proceedings
    • The ability to select the arbitrator
  • Litigation involves formal, public proceedings that occur in a courtroom for both civil and criminal claims. Some benefits of this type of process are:
    • The ability to appeal
    • The comprehensive use of evidence
    • Full utilization of attorney assistance

How Each Process Works

Dispute resolution can be a long and frustrating undertaking. It is essential to understand your options when you need to resolve a legal issue.

Mediation Procedures

With this process, a neutral participant helps you communicate with the other party to decide a resolution together. It is a private action that offers you more control over both the method and the solution:

  1. The parties decide where and how the mediation will take place.
  2. The mediator explains the ground rules.
  3. Each person presents their side of the issue.
  4. The mediator asks questions to clarify viewpoints and assist with communication between parties.
  5. The mediator goes between the parties to negotiate the settlement proposals for an agreeable resolution.

Arbitration Process

Using this method, an unbiased third party listens to both sides of your case and decides a resolution. It is typically quicker and more efficient, and it allows for more control than litigation:

  1. You select a lawyer experienced in arbitration. After filing a claim, both parties receive notifications with the required response dates and necessary information.
  2. The conflicting parties research and select an arbitrator or arbitration panel to listen to each side.
  3. Parties can employ minimal pre-hearing discovery methods to gather information.
  4. You meet with your attorney to review your case and prepare for the final hearing.
  5. During the hearing, each party presents evidence, information and documentation relevant to their side of the conflict.
  6. The arbitrator then reviews the information and renders a decision to settle the claim.

Litigation System

Litigation is a formal process settled in a court of law by a judge or jury after assessing both parties’ evidence and arguments:

  1. Lawsuits begin by filing a complaint that contains pertinent facts detailing the issue in question.
  2. The investigation part of the process involves gathering evidence to support your case. Your attorney can help determine what information is relevant to your dispute and decide how to procure the needed proof.
  3. Discovery entails legal research, speaking with witnesses, reviewing documents and other methods of obtaining details vital to your claim.
  4. During the trial phase, the parties attend court, where the prosecution and defendant present their cases and question each side before a judge or jury.
  5. After both parties present all the evidence, the judge awards a settlement decision.

Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer

If you have a legal dispute to settle, contact skilled representation to aid you throughout the process. A knowledgeable attorney can provide the tools and counsel you need for a successful resolution. Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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