Arbitration and Mediation

Arbitration and Mediation

Joseph, Greenwald & Laake represents individuals and businesses when submitting disputes to arbitration or mediation.

Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution procedure which is ideally more cost effective and faster than resort to the courts. The decision of an arbitrator is usually final with very limited opportunities to appeal.

Mediation is a non-binding effort to resolve disputes with the assistance of a mediator who has the skill and training necessary to bring the parties to an agreed upon resolution.

For centuries, when two parties had a dispute in Maryland, the primary method of resolving their differences was to litigate the matter.  Litigation concluded then, as it does now, generally with a trial before a judge or jury who is vested with the responsibility of listening to both sides and ultimately making a decision.  During litigation and then at trial, both sides will argue positions and once all arguments have been heard, the judge or the jury will make a decision favoring one party over the other. Litigation is most definitely a means to reach a resolution, but it also takes the control out of the party’s hands that are involved in the dispute and places it into the hands of the judge or jury.

 

Mediation in Maryland

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution in Maryland that allows the two parties to negotiate with each other. During mediation, both parties meet with a neutral third party mediator. The mediator does not make any decisions. Instead, the mediator tries to facilitate an agreement and compromise between the disputing parties.  

If an agreement is reached between the two parties during mediation, it is important to understand that mediated agreement may not be binding until it is either placed on a court record, entered in writing or made part of a court order.  Laws do vary from state to state as to the requirements necessary to enforce an agreement reached through the mediation process.  

Mediation is becoming a popular form of alternative dispute resolution because it is confidential, it is typically more affordable than going to trial, and it places the control back in the hands of the two disputing parties.

Arbitration in Maryland

Mediation is not the only form of alternative dispute resolution in Maryland. For some, arbitration may be a better choice. Due to the fact that arbitration is legally binding and the arbitrator has the power to make decisions for the two parties going through it, the process is very similar to litigation. However, there are some important differences.

The first difference is that arbitration does not require that the two parties appear in a courtroom. Instead, arbitration typically takes place in the arbitrator’s law office,  or some other agreed upon or neutral location. The arbitrator is typically a retired judge or an attorney that has extensive experience in the same area of law as the dispute.

The rules of evidence can be considerably more relaxed during arbitration than they are during litigation. This is so the arbitrator can take into consideration all of the information before making a decision for the two parties. Arbitration almost always eliminates the ability to appeal in order to keep costs low. Like mediation, the cost of arbitration is usually significantly lower than going through litigation to resolve disputes.

The Firm's lawyers have appeared before all major arbitration tribunals and have represented clients in hundreds of mediations.

 

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