General Question

kelly's avatar

Briefly, the difference between arbitration and mediation?

Asked by kelly (1908points) March 5th, 2011

Been dragged into a utility company versus adjacent property homeowners court action that is calling for arbitration hearing. Several defendants, one plaintiff (electric utility) and we just got added because our property abuts the utility easement. Damage action, not injury. I have an attorney. Curious the difference in the actions to expect from an arbitration versus mediation. In State of Illinois, USA

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5 Answers

WasCy's avatar

Most fundamentally, mediation means trying to find a middle ground between the two parties in dispute. In arbitration, generally both sides present their arguments, and one side wins, the other loses, straight up.

iamthemob's avatar

@WasCy has it kind of right.

Generally, arbitration is “binding” also. It is, in essence, an informal court. The parties agree that the arbitrators decision is the one they will follow.

Mediation is essentially negotiation with a counselor presence – nothing need be decided, but the mediator attempts to work out an agreement between the two parties.

It’s best boiled down to an analogy:

arbitrator = judge as mediator = negotiator.

roundsquare's avatar

Agree with @iamthemob

One thing though, in a arbitration, its not just and lose. The arbitrator can decide that both sides have a good point and come up with a binding middle ground. In addition, in both cases, the solution can be “creative” in the sense that it could be something that a court may no have the authority to do.

kelly's avatar

thanks all. K

perspicacious's avatar

Arbitration is judicial and binding; mediation uses a mediator to try to work out an equitable solution to a problem that both parties can accept.

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