Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Arbitration and mediation are two different forms of alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, that parties may elect to use, or which may be contractually mandated, to resolve a business dispute without resorting to filing a law suit in court. Arbitration and mediation are entirely different processes than one another.
Arbitration involves the appointment of one or more arbitrators to hear and consider evidence and actually make a decision in the dispute facing the parties. The arbitrator occupies the role that the judge would occupy in a court of law. Often, arbitration is contractually mandated as the exclusive dispute resolution process that business parties may utilize. Contractual arbitration provisions may go so far as to require that the arbitration be conducted within a fixed time-frame; that a certain arbitration provider be used (e.g. the American Arbitration Association or other service); and may limit discovery, the number of witnesses presented at the arbitration proceedings, and other practical issues. In such circumstances, contractual arbitration provisions often call for binding arbitration - that is a proceeding that affords no right of appeal following the arbitrator's rulings on the issues of the case.

By contrast, mediation is a facilitative system where the parties agree to the appointment of a neutral mediator to try to assist them in reaching a negotiated resolution to the dispute they face at the time. Unlike the arbitrator, the mediator has no decision making authority over the issues in the dispute. Rather, the mediator's role is to facilitate communication between the parties to allow them to come up with their own resolution to the pending dispute. While mediators are typically skilled in presenting alternatives that the parties may not have previously considered, it is ultimately the parties themselves who make the decision whether to resolve the dispute and who shape and agree to the resolutions terms.

Partner Aaron Lovaas of Global Business Lawyers serves as a private mediator and arbitrator for clients on a regional, national and international basis, also serving the local legal community in Nevada as a court-appointed arbitrator in Nevada's court annexed arbitration program.

Disclaimer: This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. If you have questions or need specific advice relating to the matters contained herein, please contact Lovaas & Lehtinen, P.C.

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