It is often preferable to resolve a dispute without litigation. Although there are times when litigation is unavoidable, it is a good practice to make every effort to resolve a dispute between parties in an alternative way.
The Georgia Constitution of 1983 mandates that the judicial branch of government provide “speedy, efficient, and inexpensive resolution of disputes and prosecutions.” The Georgia Supreme Court promulgated Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules to establish a statewide plan for alternative dispute resolution processes in Georgia Courts. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to any method other than litigation for resolving disputes.
Mediation and arbitration are two common methods of ADR.
Mediation involves the use of a neutral third party, the mediator, to facilitate the resolution of a dispute.
The mediator does not have the authority to make a decision or impose a settlement upon the parties. Typically, the mediator attempts to focus the attention of the parties on their respective needs and interests rather than rights and positions.
Any settlement is entirely voluntary. In the absence of settlement, the parties do not lose the right to a jury trial.
Arbitration is a process in which a dispute between parties is resolved by an impartial person or persons for a final and binding decision. Arbitration is less formal than a court trial, but the results can be enforced in court. The essential difference between mediation and arbitration is that arbitration is a form of adjudication, whereas mediation is not.
Now that we better understand some definitions, next time I’ll talk about negotiations attitudes that can result in positive outcomes and reasonable resolutions for both sides. Stay tuned.