11th Jun 2015

Sometimes it feels as though there are as many real estate disputes as there are players in the real estate game. They come in all shapes and sizes, but the good news is that most of these disputes can be resolved through either mediation or arbitration.

Litigation rates on are the rise in recent years, especially in high-dollar, high-profile hotel real estate cases. How can mediation or arbitration help you if you find yourself in a dispute? What is the difference between the two?

First, understand that mediation and arbitration are both ways to avoid traditional litigation. Both use a neutral third party to attempt to reach a beneficial outcome for both parties. One of the main differences, however, is that mediation is traditionally sought as a non-binding process and arbitration as a binding process.

Arbitration typically employs a panel of arbitrators who act in a manner similar to a judge and jury. A common practice is for three arbitrators to rule on the matter by majority voteā€”and the decision is binding.

Mediation uses a professional mediator who helps both parties reach a decision to end the dispute. Mediation has gained in popularity over the years, as both parties typically feel free to present their side of the dispute openly in an environment where discussion is encouraged.

Mediation is often the resolution method of choice if the two parties can be brought to the table and engages in productive discussions. When an impasse has been reached and both parties seem unwilling to move on their position, it may be time to begin arbitration and put the decision-making authority into the hands of a panel of arbitrators.

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