Which Is Better Mediation Or Arbitration?

Mediation and Arbitration are different, but which is better mediation or arbitration? Both provide a measure of finality but the costs, structure and voluntariness of each process is vastly different.

The costs to arbitrate tend to be higher than mediation. Preparation for arbitration is similar to preparation for a trial. The hearings tend to be longer, especially if there are questions of fact and law or multiple witnesses. The cost to the relationship between the parties is also higher as litigation tends to cool even the warmest of friends. Mediation can usually be accomplished in less time with much less preparation. Since it is a collaborative process where parties make their own decisions, it also tends to be easier on relationships.

Mediators help facilitate a process that either party is free to walk away from. By contrast arbitrators become seized with an issue and the parties are not free to walk away. Mediations can take on a form that is useful to the parties while arbitration has rather rigid standards.

The result of mediation is an agreement and the result of an arbitration is a ruling. Both parties have some measure of satisfaction in a bilateral agreement but often no one is happy with an arbitrator’s ruling.

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