Alternative Dispute Resolution – Arbitration and Mediation

Anyone who is seriously considering alternative dispute resolution, more specifically arbitration and mediation, should read Richard Meehan’s article entitled: Arbitration, mediation are important tools, which was published on the Norwich Bulletin.

Arbitration is a binding, alternative trial process. Rather than refer a dispute to the courts for trial before a judge or a jury, parties enter into an agreement to arbitrate. Generally, arbitration is created by the contract between the parties. One cannot compel an adversary to engage in arbitration.

Mediation is a voluntary process that utilizes an experienced facilitator whose task is to guide the parties to their own negotiated resolution. Because the process is voluntary, parties failing to reach an accord can then opt for either arbitration or litigation in court.

According to the Association of Trial Lawyers, the annual cost to the U.S. economy for civil lawsuits is $233 Billion.  This equates to a cost of $809 annually for every U.S. citizen.  Clearly anyone who is involved in a dispute should seriously consider arbitration and mediation before going all of the way through a trial.