What Is "Med-Arb" And Why Use It?

"Med­Arb," short for "mediation­arbitration," is a two­step dispute resolution process that borrows from both methods of dispute resolution. Parties attempt to resolve their dispute in mediation, and, if they fail to resolve some or all of their issues, the remaining issues are automatically submitted to arbitration. As it was originally conceived in the 1970s, the same "neutral" (objective facilitator) serves as both mediator and arbitrator, and, therefore, must be skilled in both roles. Over the years, a number of variations of Med­Arb have been established, some using two neutrals and others varying the order of the mediation and arbitration processes. This method can provide the opportunity to reach collaborative settlements with the understanding that any unresolved issues will be decided by a third­party decision­maker. This can reduce pressure on the parties to reach complete agreement in the mediation stage.

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