Med-Arb: A Hybrid Process

Mediation-Arbitration ("Med-Arb") is a hybrid form of dispute resolution process. The process combines mediation and arbitration, which are usually two separate forms of dispute resolution, into a single, two-step process. First, the parties agree with the impartial third party ("mediator") assisting them to work at resolving their dispute through mediation. Should the mediation fail to produce a settlement, the mediator's role will shift into that of an arbitrator who will make a binding decision on the issue. The main advantage of Med-Arb is the ability of the parties to obtain a quick resolution for their dispute with a minimum of expense and inconvenience. It reduces the costs and delays associated with educating a mediator about the issues and then doing it all over again for either an arbitrator or judge. It also retains the advantage inherent in mediation in that the parties can control the management of their dispute, which arbitration or litigation does not provide. However, resolution is certain given that if mediation fails a decision will be rendered by the arbitrator.