Litigation and arbitration share the same conflict resolution paradigm: a third party, judge or arbitrator, decides the matter.
Litigation and arbitration are basically about winning or losing the case, defending positions, being right or wrong. Even though litigation and arbitration have the tremendous advantage that at some point the case will be solved, whether or not the parties agree, we cannot but admit that the traditional conflict resolution paradigm is not always the most constructive and efficient way to solve conflicts.
In mediation, the parties find a solution for their conflict, with the assistance of a mediator who has no decision-making power.
The result, if mediation succeeds, is a solution which is agreeable to all parties. Even though we are fully convinced of the advantages of mediation (a mutually agreeable solution is often better respected than a solution imposed by a third party, it helps restoring commercial relationships and often results in win-win situations), we must admit that mediation also carries the burden of a major inconvenience: there is no guarantee of finality. If a mediation attempt fails, the parties have lost time and money and need to go back to square one (usually litigation).
Therefore, even though we promote mediation, we are more passionate about promoting mediation-arbitration. Med-arb combines the advantages of mediation and arbitration. All the advantages of mediation remain fully intact, but at the same time there is a rock-solid guarantee of finality. If the parties fail to reach an agreement in the mediation stage, the dispute shall be resolved through arbitration.
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