Various Forms Of Dispute Resolution

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Resolving disputes between two parties is the basis for the American civil legal system. While litigation and trial are the most obvious methods when it comes to legal disputes, there are also other options available that can resolve the issues without going to trial. Going to trial is expensive and time consuming. Often, alternative dispute resolution options like informal negotiation, mediation, and arbitration are better choices for a quick resolution. Informal negotiation is the most direct method for dispute resolution. If informal efforts fail, parties may wish to take a more formal approach such as mediation. Another option is arbitration, which involves a neutral third-party deciding how to resolve the dispute. If negotiation, mediation, or arbitration do not resolve a dispute, litigation may be the final option.

Informal Negotiation Is The Most Direct Method For Dispute Resolution 

With this type of dispute resolution, you or your attorney will work with the other party to try to reach a mutually agreeable solution. There are no specific rules to follow. The negotiation can happen in an attorney’s office, in a neutral location, or even in your own home.

Negotiation is a voluntary process and is a quicker way to resolve issues than any other method. This type of dispute resolution is usually informal and non-structured. Negotiation can result in a win-win solution and the parties can agree to keep it confidential. The agreement between the parties can be enforceable in a court of law.

Mediation Provides A More Structured Alternative To Informal Negotiation

This type of dispute resolution involves bringing in a neutral third party to facilitate communications between the two parties. The mediator attempts to bring both sides to reconciliation. The mediator does not make any decisions in the process. He or she often meets with both parties together and separately with the goal of getting past emotions to reach a mutual resolution.

This mediation process is voluntary and flexible. While the mediator may have some ground rules, the parties involved can usually determine the exact process. Mediation is a way to resolve issues without making them a matter of public record. This type of dispute resolution can reduce hostility levels and even help preserve existing relationships by avoiding the need to go to trial. Mediation allows you to craft an agreement that meets the needs of both parties. The agreement can be enforceable.

Arbitration Allows A Neutral Third Party To Decide The Dispute

With arbitration, both sides present their evidence and witnesses in front of an arbitrator. The arbitrator weighs the evidence and comes to a decision based on the merits of what each party presents. In many cases, arbitration decisions are binding to both parties and offer far fewer appeal options than going to trial does.

Arbitration can be voluntary. This type of dispute resolution can also be required by the contract involved in a case. The process is often private and will generally only become public if an appeal is made. Less formal than a trial, this type of dispute resolution usually takes less time and costs less. In binding arbitration, the decision made is final and is enforceable in court. In non-binding arbitration, both parties can still choose to go to trial.

If Negotiation, Mediation, Or Arbitration Do Not Resolve A Dispute, Litigation May Be The Final Option

This type of dispute resolution begins by filing a lawsuit with the courts. To prepare for trial, your attorney will need to share information with the opposing party. You will need to answer questions asked by the opposing attorney during a deposition. At trial, your attorney will present the merits of your case, offer evidence, and examine witnesses. The opposing attorney will do the same. In the end, the judge or the jury will make a decision for or against you. You have the right appeal.

Litigation is an involuntary process. There are formal rules and procedures that all parties must abide by. At trial, both sides have the chance to present evidence. All records of the proceedings are public. All decisions are based on law and are final and binding. The losing party in a trial often must pay all litigation costs.

Disputes are a part of everyday life. Unfortunately, sometimes they cannot be resolved through normal channels. If you are in need of legal representation, call us here at Brown & Fortunato Call us at (806) 345-6300 or Contact Us via email if you have any questions regarding dispute resolutions. Our office is located at 905 S. Fillmore, Suite 400, in Amarillo, Texas. Our website also offers an overview of our legal services.

This information is subject to change. Please check for updates that are more recent than the published date of this article.