Resolving Disputes through Arbitration and Mediation
Alternative dispute resolution is a method of resolving disputes without resorting to the judicial process. Chief among these alternatives are arbitration and mediation. Both take a variety of forms, and no one method of alternative dispute resolution is preferable to the others.
Some methods are more desirable than others depending upon the circumstances. Arbitration can be either binding or non-binding, while mediation is typically non-binding until the parties agree and (under Florida law) sign a settlement agreement that embodies their settlement.
When managed properly, alternative dispute resolution can reduce the time and cost involved in resolving disputes.
Structuring Arbitration Provisions
Arbitration was designed to be efficient, economical and expedient. It is available to the parties to a written agreement that expressly provides for arbitration, or, where the parties have not previously agreed to arbitration but do so voluntarily after recognizing the existence of a dispute.
The arbitration provisions may be lacking sufficient detail to result in efficient, economical and expedient arbitration in the face of a recalcitrant party. Parties to an agreement that provides the remedy of arbitration should take as much care in drafting the provisions for arbitration as they take in drafting the transaction and the standards of performance.
Mediation in Florida has been mandatory for several years. No party can proceed to trial without having first mediated his or her dispute. All mediation in Florida is confidential and anything said by a party at mediation can never be offered in evidence against the party in a judicial proceeding. Mediation is an opportunity for the parties to come face-to-face with their adversary and to learn about the case through their adversary’s eyes.
Mediation at the hands of a skilled mediator can be an effective way to resolve a business dispute where the parties have realistic expectations of the probability of success and probability of failure and the cost of proceeding through trial. Mediation is non-binding. It is not a substitute for arbitration, but it may be a prelude to arbitration if the mediation fails. Likewise, it may be an inexpensive way to resolve a dispute if it is successful.
We Can Assist You with Alternative Dispute Resolution
Contact our South Florida law firm online or call us at 305-564-8568 to schedule a consultation.