What is it?
This is a hybrid mediation-arbitration approach which is increasingly popular in the US. British lawyers tend to be cautious about new ADR ideas, but I strongly recommend that they give this option a try. It has great benefits for situations where both parties want a resolution to the dispute at a manageable cost, but where there may be an unbridgeable financial gap. Med-Arb guarantees a resolution, either via a collaborative settlement or a decision from an independent neutral. The parties sign up to a Med-Arb Agreement which commits them to attempt mediation, but then if the mediation is unsuccessful, to submit to binding arbitration.
It works like this: I will mediate the dispute and work with the parties to achieve a settlement both sides can live with. However, if at the end of the process there is a financial gap that cannot be bridged through negotiation, the file will be passed to one of my associate and highly experienced Arbitrators (in construction cases I can act as Arbitrator as well as mediator where the parties consent) who for a fixed, pre-agreed fee will simply choose one of the parties’ final offers and prepare a short arbitration award explaining the reasons. This award will be binding and enforceable.
The interesting thing about this process is that the occasions when the arbitration is needed are rare, because the knowledge that a binding arbitration will follow the mediation tends to encourage the parties to go the extra mile to get a mediated settlement.
My normal mediation fees apply. In addition the Arbitrator will charge a fixed fee by reference to the mediation fee – contact me for more pricing details.
The Next Step
If you are considering Med-Arb for your dispute, contact me now.