Alternatives to Court
In order to avoid courtroom litigation, parties may solve their business dispute using an "Alternative Dispute Resolution" or "ADR". There are four major alternatives to court:
Negotiation - The parties figure out a solution themselves, perhaps with the assistance of a third party.
Mediation - A neutral third party acts as facilitator, helping the parties reach a solution.
Arbitration - Like a judge, an arbitrator hears from both parties in a court-like setting, then makes a decision. With non-binding arbitration, the parties may ignore the arbitrator's decision, if desired, and proceed as if the hearing never took place. Binding arbitration is quite different: the arbitrator's word is final, cannot be appealed, and is enforceable by the courts.
Collaborative Law - Lawyers represent each party and work together to achieve an agreement.
Pros of Avoiding Court through Mediation
Disputing parties can expect several advantages if they are able to avoid the courts by resolving their matter via arbitration:
Less Expensive - Mediation can be significantly less expensive than litigation because the arbitration process is less complicated and moves more quickly - two factors which will lower attorney time and therefore attorney cost.
Simpler Proceedings - With mediation, the rules and procedures are simplified and easier for both parties to comply with.
More Private - Whereas courtroom proceedings can become very public affairs, mediation occurs in complete privacy, with the terms of the final resolution also remaining private.
Faster and More Convenient - Mediation avoids the courts' overbooked calendar entirely, and is scheduled at the convenience of the disputing parties. Also, since the mediation process is simpler than litigation, a resolution can occur months, or even years, sooner than it may have in the court system.
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