Mediation and arbitration are both ways of resolving a dispute out-of-court. Yet, they work in very different ways.
Let us start with mediation.
Often, mediation is a voluntary process, meaning both sides to a dispute agree to go to a mediation. In addition, courts often order parties in a lawsuit to try mediation before going to trial.
When parties go to mediation, the lawyers for each side will agree upon a person to serve as a mediator. The mediator is usually a lawyer or a retired judge.
The mediator does not decide who should win or lose. Instead, the mediator will attempt to help the parties find common ground and enter into a settlement.
A mediator cannot force the parties to settle. That decision belongs to the parties.
Usually, the mediator will meet with the parties and their lawyers in the same room. The mediator will explain the purpose of mediation and the mediator’s role.
At that point, the mediator will ask one side to leave and go into a separate room. The mediator will then begin meeting alone with each side to discuss the case.
The mediator will talk about weaknesses in your case. You may get the feeling that the mediator is taking the other party’s side. That is not the case. You can be sure the mediator does the same thing to the other side.
If the parties agree to settle, a simple settlement agreement is drawn up and signed by the parties.
Click here for the Mississippi rules of mediation.
How does arbitration differ?
Sometimes, parties will agree to voluntarily arbitrate their differences after the dispute arises.
In most instances, however, arbitration occurs because the parties previously entered into a contract and agreed to arbitrate if a dispute later arises.
The person selected as an arbitrator acts like a judge. Unlike a mediator, the arbitrator’s role is to make rulings and decide who wins.
Arbitration proceeds in a matter similar to being in court. When the case goes to trial, each side will call witnesses and put on other evidence. After that, the arbitrator will issue a written decision and announce the winner.
The ruling of the arbitrator is final. The decision of the arbitrator cannot be appealed except for very limited reasons.
Click here to examine the rules of the American Arbitration Association.
If you need assistance in a mediation or arbitration, call the Panter Law Firm at 601-607-3156.