shaking hands - mediation vs arbitration concept

What’s The Difference Between Mediation vs Arbitration?

Many people will often confuse mediation and arbitration. Both are helpful tools for resolving civil disputes. Even though they are used to achieve the same goals, the procedures are very different. It’s important to know the distinction between the two, and that’s exactly what we will be covering. Schuering Mediation provides civil mediation services in Illinois as a form of alternative dispute resolution. Today, we will be addressing the big question that many clients have: What’s the difference between mediation vs arbitration, and how will it help my case?

Mediation vs Arbitration

To know the differences in mediation vs arbitration, knowing the definitions of each are important.

What Is Mediation?

We have covered the impact of civil mediation services in Illinois, in previous posts. But for those who need a refresher: Mediation is a confidential process that is conducted by a professional mediator, that acts as a neutral third party. One of the key differences when it comes to mediation vs arbitration is that a mediator is not a judge in this situation. They will not give legal advice nor will they make any decisions surrounding the dispute. What a mediator will do is facilitate discussion between the disputing parties and help them reach a mutual resolution. It’s a non-binding process–meaning that both parties will never be forced to accept a resolution, but they will voluntarily agree to accept a resolution. When the parties have come to terms on a settlement, the terms of the settlement are what become legally binding. In cases where a resolution is not reached, clients will then have the option to move forward with arbitration or litigation in either a federal or state court.

What Is Arbitration?

If arbitration is on the table, this means that you were unable to successfully reach a resolution using mediation. Arbitration is very similar to the process of a trial. Just like court, the process involves the presentation of evidence and legal arguments. Court systems will have a judge or jury preside over a case, but in arbitration, 1-3 arbitrators are responsible for hearing and deciding outcomes. It’s a sought-after alternative for litigation because the parties have the luxury to select the arbitrators. It can be less expensive than court, and the process moves along quickly compared to court litigation. While mediation is non-binding, the same can’t be said for arbitration. Parties going through arbitration are legally obligated to comply with the decisions that are presented from the arbitrators.

Mediation Should Be The First Step For Resolving Disputes

Without a doubt, mediation should always be your first step in resolving a dispute. Why, you may ask? It’s simple– it’s a swift, economically-efficient process that can take as little as one day to conduct. Conversely, arbitration and litigation are more time-consuming, expensive, and emotionally binding. The benefits of mediation are too good to ignore. Parties have the freedom to come to mutually-agreed upon resolutions, and they create the terms!

Civil Mediation Services Illinois

In summary, choosing civil mediation vs arbitration will determine who has control over the outcome. Alternative dispute resolutions will always remove uncertainty, cut down costs, and give clients peace of mind when navigating through these complex legal procedures. Judge Mark Schuering (Ret.) of Schuering Mediation has over 11 years of experience as a civil mediator and was previously a trial judge for 24 years. Schuering Mediation is devoted to helping people resolve their disputes, yielding positive outcomes for the parties that are involved. To get started with mediation or zoom mediation for those who prefer remote interactions, contact us today!

Contact Judge Mark A. Schuering (Ret.)

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