Use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is becoming increasingly popular to resolve legal disputes without litigation, which can be time-consuming, extremely expensive and the outcome is uncertain. ADR affords parties in dispute increased control over the process and resolution of the issue. It also avoids the public record that is created when a civil action is commenced. ADR can include mediation, arbitration, and collaborative law.
Mediation is the process by which a neutral third-party (mediator) oversees the negotiation process of the disputing parties. The mediation is usually short-term, occurring in just a few hours and in the end, the parties will have a mutually agreed-upon resolution. The mediator facilitates the exchange of information and dialogue amongst the parties so they are encouraged to reach an agreement. Mediation is a voluntary process and the information disclosed during the process is confidential.
Arbitration is similar to mediation but also has similarities to the litigation process. The parties to an arbitration, hire a neutral third-party (arbitrator) to render a decision on the dispute. The arbitrator’s role is similar to that of a judge and the process mirrors a court hearing, where the parties may have witnesses and present evidence. The benefit of arbitration is that the parties determine how closely the arbitration resembles an actual court hearing-how evidence is presented, what evidence is admissible.
ADR is used instead of suing a party in court. But if the parties are unable to reach an agreement or if a party believes the outcome is unfair, the parties can proceed with a civil lawsuit. However, it is very difficult to overturn a binding ADR resolution. Which form of ADR is appropriate for your case will depend on the particular issue and willingness of the parties to negotiate.
If you have questions regarding your civil case, call Great Lakes Legal Group today to discuss your case and ADR options!