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What Is the Difference Between Mediation and Arbitration?

Besides being costly and time-consuming, litigation is also stressful. Trials are an adversarial process where two sides oppose each other and seek to win a verdict. As courts became increasingly bogged down with greater caseloads than they could handle, other ways to resolve disputes emerged. Medication and arbitration are two of the most frequently used alternatives to litigation. A Maine mediation and arbitration lawyer can review your legal issue and discuss the possibility of resolving your matter outside of court.

The legal definition for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is any method of resolving disputes other than by litigation. Mediation takes a more informal approach to dispute resolution than arbitration. A neutral third party, called a mediator, generally meets with you and the other party, separately at first to discuss the issues in conflict and your goals for resolving them. Mediators work to find common ground and enable parties to reach an agreement. The mediator brings you and the other party together and facilitates communication, encouraging you to resolve issues.

By comparison, arbitration is a more formal process similar to courtroom procedures, though not as formal or lengthy as a trial. During arbitration, both sides present their case and the arbitrator renders a decision, called an award. Arbitration can be binding or non-binding, depending on what parties decide beforehand. When you use ADR, it is reassuring to know that courts almost never overturn a mediation decision or arbitration award that results in a valid contract between parties.

Before resorting to trial, it is wise to discuss the prospects of ADR with a mediation law firm in Maine.

Shaheen & Gordon, P.A. has extensive experience and noteworthy credentials in alternative dispute resolution.