Forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution
Do you want to avoid filing a formal lawsuit?
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is likely the best option for you. ADR comes in many forms. The two primary forms are:
- Mediation – A mediator helps the parties achieve a mutually agreeable resolution of their dispute.
- Arbitration – An arbitrator (or panel of arbitrators) reviews evidence, listens to the parties argue their case, and then issues a ruling deciding the dispute.
You may also choose a hybrid form of ADR, moving from mediation into arbitration: First, you mediate your claims until you reach an impasse. Then all remaining issues are decided by arbitration.
Whichever form you choose, you must also decide whether you want the result of the dispute resolution to be binding or nonbinding:
Binding – You’re obligated to accept the outcome of the dispute resolution proceeding, and the final order takes the form of an enforceable contract. The final order may often be filed with a court and becomes enforceable as a court order or judgement.
Nonbinding – You may choose to accept or reject the mediator’s opinion. In other words, the mediator doesn’t come in and make the final ruling that is then entered with the court as a judgement.
Nonbinding ADR is a two-way street, and the other side also has the right to reject the result.
Most mediation proceedings aren’t binding. In contrast, arbitration proceedings usually are binding, and they’re usually structured so that the arbitrator’s order can be filed with a court and enforced as a judgement.
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