Many businesses now choose to resolve disputes using a blended technique known as mediation-arbitration rather than the traditional court system. Mediation-Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution that brings both parties in front of an arbitrator to present their concerns. The arbitrator works as a mediator in trying to help both parties come to the table and discuss solutions, but like a judge in that, at the end, they make a final decision. Some jurisdictions even mandate parties first try mediation before bringing their case in front of a jury.
In many ways, undergoing Mediation-Arbitration is an advantage for businesses as it can often be handled more efficiently than traditional litigation. Having both parties working to negotiate a solution rather than fighting each other is only one reason the process is more efficient. Even when you consider the costs of the lawyers and the arbitrator, it is still general cheaper because the process is quicker and less complicated than going through a full round of general litigation (not even considering appeals).
With Mediation-Arbitration, businesses are able to hire an arbitrator who not only suits both sides, but who can be available in a time frame that works for the business and in general, much sooner than a judge. This flexibility can also be extended to include simplifying the formal discovery process and the rules of evidence, further decreasing costs.
An additional incentive for many businesses is the fact that it is private. Not only is confidential and trade-secret information protected, but parties can agree to keep the entire proceeding private. Unlike court where reporters have access to records and can attend proceedings, arbitration can keep the dispute and settlement out of the news altogether.
If you’re conducting business internationally, arbitration is often the best option as it keeps you out of an unknown court system in a country that may or may not be sympathetic to your claim. There are several international arbitration centers that are experienced in handling multi-national business disputes and a whole body of procedure that has built up around the practice. Even though these organizations generally offer arbitration as their mainstay, they can easily accommodate the Mediation-Arbitration system described above.
If you’re considering arbitration for your business disputes, in addition to reviewing all the advantages of the process, remember that binding decisions will limit your further recourse to the judicial process. You can mitigate the risk of a bad decision by contracting to actively participate in choosing the arbitrator. Even if you find yourself faced with a contract stipulating arbitration, you can always negotiate to include the ability to have an equal say in the person chosen.
Virtus Law Firm has helped draft Mediation-Arbitration clauses (as well as mediation only and arbitration only) that are fair and binding and has participated in arbitration discussions for complex business disagreements. Our experience can be put to use helping you resolve your issues quickly and cost-effectively. Call us today at 612.888.1000 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation.