Mediation and arbitration are alternative forms of dispute resolution … alternative because they replace formal court hearings and trials. Mediation and arbitration can reduce the cost of lengthy disputes, and both methods allow greater latitude of compromise than taking a case to court.
At Tiffany and Bosco, our mediation-arbitration attorneys offers this alternative method for dispute resolution for our private and governmental clients who have been involved in real estate disputes, property tax appeals, condemnation, family law, and real estate valuation issues.
So, what exactly are mediation and arbitration? Is there a difference and are they mandatory? What do the laws in Arizona, California, and Nevada say about alternate dispute resolutions? Read on.
Mediation is a dispute resolution process that relies on a mediator who acts more like a referee than a judge. The mediator brings the parties to the dispute together and strives to keep the dialog civil and forward-moving. In all matters, the mediator is required to be impartial, seeking only to get the parties to reach an agreement.
if the mediator is successful, the two parties will find an agreeable compromise. At this point, the agreement will be put into writing and all parties will sign it. The agreement is then forwarded to the appropriate judicial authority, which will generally sign as well and close the case.
Arbitration is similar to mediation but differs in one very important way: Rather than seek to find middle ground and compromise, the person tasked with arbitration must rule on the matter. In this respect, arbitration is much like a court except that the usual rules of order and evidence do not apply. Arbitration is much less formal, and the arbitrator does not have to adhere to the rule of law in making his or her decision.
Another key difference is that arbitration can be binding or non-binding. If the form is non-binding, either of the two parties can decide to force the matter into the courts if they disagree; if binding, the two parties are bound by the ruling of the arbitrator.
In some cases yes, in some no. Mediation or arbitration may be added to contracts, especially those involving relatively small sums of money between parties that are located great distances apart. This permits the one making the contract to have the benefit of getting the matter resolved quickly and with little expense; for example, many cell phone contracts contain such provisions.
If there is no such contract, however, neither is mandatory. If two people have a dispute, they can petition the courts for relief, but many choose mediation or arbitration to avoid the public nature of a trial, the cost, and the loss of time.
The purpose of mediation and arbitration is to quickly and efficiently resolve disputes. Instead of a long, drawn-out court battle, which may play out in the public eye via the news media, those using mediation or arbitration can get the dispute resolved quickly and quietly. This makes alternate dispute resolution arrangements attractive to many, especially busy public figures.
Nearly any dispute that could go to the courts can be handled by a mediation or arbitration. There may be situations and circumstances in which the course of wisdom would be to use alternate dispute processes and situations. The best way to know for sure is to speak with an arbitrator or mediation attorney, such as any member of the Tiffany & Bosco team shown below. Click on our images to learn more about us.
Although the laws in all 50 states permit some form of mediation and/or arbitration, not all hold to the same standards. With attorneys appointed to the state bar in Arizona, California, and Nevada, Tiffany & Bosco is uniquely positioned to provide skilled mediation and arbitration throughout the Southwest.
California Evidence Code §§1115-1128 strictly regulates mediation while Nevada’s arbitration laws and Arizona’s alternatives to trials take more relaxed approaches. In any case, one need not be a practicing attorney to mediate under the law, so be careful. Just because someone tells you they can mediate does not mean they have the experience and knowledge of the law to do so with skill.
Reach out to our mediation and arbitration attorneys directly by clicking their images below and emailing or calling us. Or, call 602-255-6000 and ask to be connected to someone with the mediation and arbitration team.