Mediation v. Litigation v. Arbitration

When in conflict or in a dispute that is escalating, the first thing a person thinks of is “I want to sue!”  That’s because that is the only resolution option most of us are aware of.  Most of us are unaware of the other dispute resolution process, called mediation. It can help solve disputes and conflicts without the significant cost and time of litigating, going to court or arbitration, and having someone else decide the outcome.

the differences between mediation, litigation and arbitration image
Mediation is a process whereby a mediator (a neutral third party) through the use of specialized conflict resolution communication skills, facilitates discussions between disputing parties to help them explore and understand their differences and interests and reach their own mutually acceptable resolution and agreement. The mediator creates a safe environment where parties feel comfortable to discuss their issues and differences and move forwards towards a resolution. Mediators have no authoritative decision-making power. Mediators (interest based) do not provide advice or recommendations nor make any decisions for the parties.

Arbitration and Litigation are adversarial processes. An arbitrator, judge or jury decides the outcomes and makes decisions for the parties that results in an award, verdict or judgment that favors one party over the other.  The cost of arbitration or litigation can be much higher than for mediation, and take a very long time to resolve. Resolution of conflict through mediation can take a few hours to a few days whereas litigation can take several weeks to several years; and arbitration several weeks.

Next time you are in a dispute, think of mediating before litigating, call JRB Mediations,

at 780-271-3344, or contact  me at 

A summary of the differences between mediation, litigation (lawyers and court), and arbitration:

Disputants: Mediation Litigation Arbitration
Control of the mediation process yes no no
Impose terms of settlement themselves yes no no
Compelled to accept a settlement no yes yes
Decide mediation timeline and location yes no no
Non-adversarial yes no no
Confidential yes no no
Open to public scrutiny no yes yes
Settlements can be viewed by the courts no yes yes
Produces a final and confidential settlement of the disputes yes no no
Judge/jury/arbiter decides who wins and decides upon the settlement no yes yes
Appeal the case no yes yes
Details of disputants’ lives become part of the public record no yes yes