What is the difference between litigation and mediation?
In litigation, very often the real issues become hidden by the legal technicalities, the arguments between counsel, and the procedural entanglements. In mediation, a skilled mediator will listen to issues described by the parties themselves, and help direct them to an agreeable resolution.
Real Estate Dispute Resolution: Mediation and Litigation
Real estate disputes can arise for a variety of reasons and can involve disagreements between buyers and sellers, landlords and tenants, and developers and municipalities. No matter what the circumstances, proper dispute resolution is key in order to ensure all parties come to an agreement. Two of the most common methods of dispute resolution are mediation and litigation.
Mediation is a voluntary process by which a neutral third party (the mediator) helps parties in conflict to identify and explore different options for reaching an agreement. The mediator does not issue any decisions or mandates. Rather, they facilitate communication and joint decision-making by assisting the parties in identifying their interests and communicating them effectively to each other. The goal of mediation is to achieve a mutually beneficial agreement that all parties can accept.
One advantage of mediation is it is often a quicker, more cost-effective process than litigation. In some cases, the parties may even be able to resolve the dispute without the assistance of an experienced mediator. Another advantage is that, unlike in litigation, the parties maintain control over the outcome. They decide independently of a court whether or not to accept a particular solution. Finally, mediation also offers an opportunity to maintain relationships between parties, which can be beneficial if future disputes arise.
Litigation, on the other hand, is a more formal legal process in which the parties present their arguments before a court and a judge or jury makes the ultimate decision. Unlike mediation, litigation involves a judge and/or jury rendering a decision on who is ‘right’ and who is ‘wrong’. This can be both costly and time-consuming. Furthermore, litigation frequently results in more acrimony among the parties and can irreparably damage relationships.
When resolving a real estate dispute, parties should carefully consider whether mediation or litigation is best suited to the particular circumstances. In some cases, mediation can effectively and efficiently settle the dispute without the need for a drawn-out and costly litigation process. However, if the parties are unable to come to an agreement, or if legal action is necessary, then litigation may be the only viable option.