Alternative Dispute Resolution is a way of resolving disputes between disagreeing parties instead of resorting to court and the lengthy procedures that can come out of that. Under Maltese legislation alternative dispute resolution includes mediation and arbitration.
The advantages of resorting to alternative dispute resolution rather than going to court are that:
1. It is cheaper
2. It is faster
3. It is less complex
4. Parties will feel that they are more in control
Mediation is mandatory in cases of personal separation, employment issues, property issues and company issues. During a mediation process, a mediator is present who directs and supports the parties to reach an amicable solution.
It is important to note that in family issues, during separation or divorce process, mediation is of utmost importance and is mandatory in separation cases under Maltese Law. Mediation also helps families to reach an amicable solution when children are present with regard to legal care and custody of children and visitation rights.
Mediation is also used in property issues and company issues since it is a cheaper and faster process by which one can reach a friendly agreement which is also helpful for any future business opportunities that the parties might have.
Sultana Legal will assists its clients throughout the mediation process by assisting them in order to try to reach the most advantageous result for its clients in the least possible short of time with the least expenses possible.
Arbitration is another form of alternative dispute resolution and it is widely used in those instances where they are mandatory by law, where there is an arbitration clause in the agreement, in issues related to insurances and industrial matters and in any other matter that the parties may decide by agreement between them. In arbitration proceedings, there is a third party called the arbitrator [also more than one can be appointed] who is appointed and he is a neutral party who gives an award after hearing both parties submissions.
Differences Between Mediation and Arbitration
Many people might confuse these two terminologies; being mediation and arbitration.
One of the most important differences between mediation and arbitration is that an arbitrator makes a final decision called award on a case, while a mediator does not. During an arbitration proceeding, an arbitrator listens to and considers all relevant information, then decides on the case. On the other hand, a mediator discusses possible settlements and encourages the disputing parties to arrive at a decision on their own. Indeed, the mediator acts as a sort of middleperson that facilitates discussions to get the individual parties to agree on a dispute resolution.
When an arbitrator makes a final award, it is legally binding. Appeals are only accepted under special circumstances. In contrast, mediation settlements are never legally binding unless both parties specifically request binding mediation.
Another difference between mediation and arbitration is in the ability to withdraw from the process. While a mediation agreement can require persons to participate initially, because mediation agreements are not legally binding, neither party is required to neither complete the process nor find a dispute resolution if he does not want to. Nevertheless, in the case of arbitration, the parties can only withdraw from the proceedings before the final decision by the arbitrator is reached for the reason that in arbitration, the final decision is binding and can only be appealed from in certain circumstances.
Mediation and arbitration can both be effective ways of settling disputes outside of court. However, because their inherent differences can affect the outcome of a dispute, choosing the right form of Alternative Dispute Resolution for your situation is key to getting the most favourable outcome. In fact, Sultana Legal will inform its clients accordingly as to the advantages and disadvantages of each form of alternative dispute resolution and will try to reach the most satisfactory solution for its clients after hearing its clients and discussing all the relevant facts of their case.