Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution

Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution

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Published by TOP4 Team

As anyone with even a passing knowledge of the legal system knows, going to trial is time-consuming, expensive, and risky. This risk applies to both sides engaged in a legal dispute. As a result, ADR or, alternative dispute resolution, has become an effective and leading method for parties involved in a lawsuit to attempt to resolve their grievances before moving to trial. ADR typically takes one of two forms. Those two forms are arbitration or mediation.

In an arbitration hearing, each side presents their case, often in short hand form to an independent hearing officer, or a trusted arbitrator, who will render a decision. As with a trial, there will be a winner and a loser. If the arbitration is "nonbinding" then either side may choose to reject the award and continue forward on towards trial. If the arbitration is "binding" then both sides accept the decision of the arbitrator.

A mediation hearing entails both sides appearing before an impartial hearing officer or mediator who will attempt to resolve the case. Typically both sides will meet with the mediator at the mediator's office. Each side, including both the attorneys and their clients, will be situated in separate offices (often in a personal injury case where an insurance company is involved on behalf of their insured the insurance adjustor will participate in the personal injury mediation without the defendant present). The mediator then moves between both parties conveying offers and counter offers. As well, the mediator will advise each side on the strengths and weaknesses of their respective case and the appropriateness of the offers and counter offers based upon the actual facts of the case. Mediation has proven to be extremely effective in resolving personal injury cases. Mediation saves both parties in a legal dispute time, money, and provides a clear and authoritative result. Often this proves to be a more attractive solution to the parties than the time, expense, and substantial risk involved with going through a trial.

With all of this said, mediation is clearly not suitable in all cases. Often the parties are simply too far apart in terms of the facts, issues, and an amount in dispute to make mediation a worthwhile undertaking for that particular personal injury case. As an injury attorney, my own experience is that mediation is almost always worth attempting. It's "worth a try" to get the case settled, in less time and with a lower amount of stress involved. In the case where a settlement is not reached, one often learns valuable information about the facts and contentions as the other side sees them.

If you're looking for an arbitrator in Sydney that also specialises in alternative dispute resolution, call or visit today!


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