Arbitration – What does that mean?

Arbitration is mediation, usually in legal matters. Many people, when they’re facing legal issues, have no idea where to begin. Choosing an attorney, lawyer, or law firm for your legal needs and learning more on legal issues can well be an overwhelming task. It’s not an easy job to find all the relevant facts you need to know before you can come up with an informed decision. Most likely, you’ll be aware that the professional and personal stakes are high, often very high.

So arbitration is mediation. A mediator assists the parties in reaching a settlement of the dispute. Mediation is an effective way for parties to control the dispute process and achieve a mutually satisfactory resolution because the parties maintain control of the process, it allows the parties to maintain their relationship after the dispute is resolved, it guarantees confidentiality, and, it is cost effective.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary process that allows people to negotiate with the help of a neutral and impartial third party. The mediator creates a collaborative problem-solving environment and helps facilitate discussion and generate options to resolve the dispute.

Decisions about the resolution of the dispute remain with the parties. The mediator does not decide “right” or “wrong” and does not determine the outcome of the negotiation. The mediator may offer feedback or advice if asked and if it seems helpful to the process.

The process begins with an intake that helps to define the issues to be mediated as well as the positions and concerns of each party. Following that, mediation may include both joint sessions with all involved parties as well as private caucuses in which each party meets individually with the mediator.

The parties in mediation may be represented by attorneys or may choose to negotiate for themselves. Most mediators work with both parties before and after a lawsuit has been filed. Mediation may be initiated through attorneys or by the parties directly. Because mediation is a completely voluntary process, all parties to the dispute must agree to enter into mediation. To schedule a mediation, contact a specialized attorney in your area.

Generally, mediators provide mediation services to assist with a wide array of legal disputes ranging from divorce mediation to elder law issues to trusts and estates. Some lawyers additionally specialize in real estate. Almost all legal disputes can be resolved through mediation and a good lawyer can and will with disputes in the fields of from:
Divorce/Domestic Relations
Elder Law
Real Estate and Land Use
Trusts and Estates
Legal Disputes and Contested Litigation

If you want a more timely and efficient way to resolve your legal dispute, be sure to find a mediator that will work with all involved attorneys and parties to facilitate a prompt and fair resolution to your case. Whether you’ve already filed suit in court, or want to skip the court process altogether, a good mediator will always help you reach a resolution.

Types of Arbitration

High/Low Arbitration: Arbitration, whether done with a high/low figure or without, is final and binding with no right of rehearing or appeal in any forum or court. High/Low arbitration is the most popular method of arbitration. High/Low arbitration will ensure that regardless of what the arbitrator finds, the injured party will not leave the proceeding with less than the low and, of course, with no more than the stipulated high.

Example: A case where the offer (low) is $10,000 and the demand (high) is $50,000. After reviewing the evidence submitted, the arbitrator renders a decision of $8,000. In this situation, because of the signed agreement, the injured party will be paid $10,000, the amount agreed on as the low. The same would be true if the opposite occurred and the arbitrator awarded $55,000. The injured party would recover the amount of the stipulated high rather than the amount awarded.

The arbitrator must be isolated from the high/low figures. The arbitrator will not be made aware of these figures (before the hearing, during the hearing, or after the hearing). The arbitrator must remain objective. Not knowing the high/low will enable the arbitrator to be completely candid in rendering a decision.

Standard Arbitration: Another option for binding arbitration is Standard Arbitration. With this method, there are no high/low perimeters agreed upon and documented in the arbitration agreement prior to the hearing. The decision is made with regard to the award will be the amount given to the injured party.

No Appearance Arbitration: No appearance arbitration is a very popular method in which the arbitrator renders a decision simply on the evidence that is submitted alone and neither party will make a personal appearance.

Mediation Tips

What do you recommend prior to mediation? Do not be afraid to submit materials and reports ahead of time as it is very helpful for not only the Attorneys to be well prepared but it seems to make the mediation flow easier. This lets the Mediator also have a deeper knowledge of the case in question.

How is a Mediation different from a mandated Judicial Settlement Conference? Mediation is a facilitated process by nature, where parties are participating and all parties are in control. Judicial Settlement Conferences are more of an evaluation process by nature, and the session is
controlled by the Judge.

Judicial Settlement Conferences are also limited in the amount of documentation that counsel is allowed to submit, unlike Mediation where there is no limit to the amount of documentation that may be submitted. The more an Attorney is prepared going into mediation,
the more likely they will get the result that they are looking for. As an aside; parties should not become discouraged at the onset of the Mediation Session, because after a very short while they will find that all parties are there with the same desire which is the settlement of their case.

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