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Comparing Mediation and Arbitration


If you are involved in a family law dispute or a dispute in the workplace, your attorney may recommend mediation or arbitration services in San Jose, CA . Could one of these processes help you settle your case with less acrimony and without a lengthy and expensive court battle? Here is a look at how these two similar processes compare. mediation - arbitration


Mediation is a process through which two parties attempt to resolve a disagreement in a way that is mutually acceptable without the need to go through litigation in a courtroom. The most important part of mediation is that no side comes out feeling like they have won. Instead, at the end of successful mediation, both sides should feel as though they have made a deal that meets their needs without forcing anyone to lose.

The mediation process is largely a negotiation led by an impartial mediator, who asks questions and facilitates the process. The mediator is not a judge and cannot issue binding decisions. Instead, he or she helps to guide the parties towards an agreement that is mutually acceptable and to ensure the process remains productive. Mediation lawyers can be present to ensure that their clients’ rights are protected, but the negotiation does not happen between the lawyers but rather with the mediator and the parties involved. Most mediation resolutions are non-binding, but lawyers can also help to draft legal agreements that formalize the final arrangement.


Arbitration services are similar to mediation in that they happen outside of the courtroom. However, in arbitration, a panel of people acts as judges and listens to evidence before making a ruling about the dispute. In most instances, the rulings issued during arbitration are legally biding.

Arbitration can be run in a few different ways. Often, both sides will select an arbitrator, and those arbitrators will work together to pick a third arbitration. Because arbitration decisions are made using majority rule, there must be an odd number of arbitrators involved. Less commonly, a single arbitrator will rule on a dispute.