Court systems overburdened with lawsuits opened the door to alternative
dispute resolution to lighten their dockets. Also, litigants looked for
more practical, cost-effective approaches where they could resolve issues
outside of court and avoid the cost, time and adversarial factors inherent
Mediation and Arbitration
Cornell University Law School defines alternative dispute resolution (ADR)
as any method of resolving disputes other than by litigation. Mediation
and arbitration are the most common forms of ADR. They follow specific
procedures and differ in their approaches. Mediation uses a neutral third
party to facilitate communication and reach a settlement between parties.
It is an informal process where parties often meet separately with the
mediator and then afterward meet together to discuss issues and find a
common ground for settlement. The mediator does not rule or make decisions
but instead encourages parties to resolves their issues by arriving at
their own agreement.
By comparison, arbitration is a formal process, bearing greater similarity
to a court proceeding although it is less rigid. The arbitrator or panel
of arbitrators listen to opposing parties present their sides of the dispute.
After considering evidence from both parties, the arbitrators render a
decision that can be binding or non-binding depending on the terms established
beforehand. When the arbitration is binding, the decision can only be
changed under very limited circumstances.
Mediation and arbitration are both confidential processes which provide
an advantage for parties that wish to keep their matters private. Court
proceedings, by comparison, are public matters.
A Maine mediation attorney can help opposing parties find common ground
and resolve issues quickly through mediation.
For effective legal guidance using alternative dispute resolution
Shaheen & Gordon, P.A. offers clients alternative dispute resolution
through mediation and arbitration to help avoid the courtroom. Our attorneys
have extensive experience and have successfully resolved more than 1,000
cases through mediation.