Mediation and Arbitration

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Mediation is a dispute resolution process conflicting parties may use to reach a settlement with the help of an impartial third party. Mediation is a confidential and voluntary process, which leaves the outcome in the control of the parties, not with the courts. Where an agreement is reached it can be reduced to a written contract. Mediation is nearly always on a without prejudice basis, meaning that neither party may have what was said in mediation used against them in court: you cannot be "prejudiced" by your attempt to settle.

A mediator does not take a position or give advice. They will help the parties explore their positions to reveal underlying interests, ensure the parties communicate respectfully and effectively, and help come up with solutions that the parties may not have explored yet.

An arbitrator is also an impartial third party, but similar to a judge, an arbitrator will impose a decision if the parties cannot reach an agreement themselves. The decision is legally binding, but may be appealed to the courts in certain situations. It can be very similar to litigation, but often is considerably less expensive and significantly faster.

Gordon Zwaenepoel has trained mediators and arbitrators. Either or both processes may be used for an entire case, or for only a limited aspect.

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