Arbitration vs. Mediation in Texas
Using arbitration and mediation in Texas disputes have provided beneficial results to many parties. Although both of these methods of alternative dispute resolution encourage the parties to settle their cases outside of the courtroom, they are very different.
Mediation encourages the parties to collaborate and create a settlement agreement that each party can live with. No settlement is reached in mediation unless the parties agree to its terms. The mediator does not make any decisions on behalf of the parties. Mediation puts the parties in control of the finalization of their case.
There are no rules of evidence in mediation and there is no set procedure that the mediator and the parties must follow. The parties may discuss any issue they like with the mediator and they may bring any evidence that they want to be considered.
In contrast, during arbitration, a panel of up to three arbitrators will decide the outcome of the case for the parties. This decision is final and is very difficult to appeal. A formal arbitration hearing is held, during which the parties introduce evidence and testimony in front of the arbitrators. Arbitration provides the benefits of a non-jury trial without its expense and delay.