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What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?



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Mediation and arbitration are two forms of alternative dispute resolution. Mediation is a system whereby you and the other party or parties select a neutral, a person who is typically a retired judge or an attorney. That attorney will go through the process of having you submit information to him or her about the case. They then will put together a program whereby you will sit in a room with them, explain your case to them, and then they will break the parties up and they will go to each side and try to work out a resolution.

Arbitration is different. Arbitration, unlike mediation, is binding on the parties. Arbitration, unlike mediation, has someone who actually takes the place of a judge. That person will hear the case and will make a determination as to how the case should be decided based upon the facts presented and the applicable law. One nice thing about arbitration is that virtually all evidence comes into it. So it’s in a situation where you have or are bound by the same rules that you would have if you were to go to trial. You will need a lawyer in either case, whether you use mediation or arbitration.