The simplest answer is that mediation is a voluntary meeting of the parties involved in a case to reach an agreement. The main point of mediation is to settle differences in a way that both sides find acceptable. Some contracts, such as contracts for the purchase and sale of residential properties or for construction, sometimes require mediation before commencing litigation as a condition to the recovery of attorney fees and costs in any litigation between the parties based on that contract.
Arbitration, on the other hand, can be and often is binding on the parties. Parties may submit their dispute to arbitration voluntarily by agreement which defines the number of arbitrators and the rules of the arbitration concerning prehearing discovery, what kind of evidence will be admissible and considered by the arbitrators, and much more.
Sometimes arbitration is required but not binding as in Oregon and Washington which require parties to any litigation in which only monetary damages below a certain ceiling, such as $50,000.00, are sought to first submit their claims and defenses to arbitration by a single arbitrator. In such court mandated arbitration, either or both parties can take their dispute to a jury or judge for trial.
Attorneys in our firm are trained by experience and education to maximize the outcomes for their clients in both mediation and arbitration.
© 3/26/2018 Lucy G. Heil of Hunt & Associates, P.C. All rights reserved.