What is Involved in the Dispute Resolution Process?

Keith Koons

The dispute resolution process normally begins with each of the involved parties coming together and discussing the situation in its entirety. Once each side has stated their concerns and viewpoints, an arbitrator will normally suggest steps to settle the dispute. If the conversation goes well and both parties can agree on a fair settlement, the dispute resolution process ends with a binding legal contract outlining the agreement. When a settlement can not be reached, the dispute would likely be rescheduled to be heard within a court of law.

Divorcing partners often choose mediation as a method of dispute resolution.
Divorcing partners often choose mediation as a method of dispute resolution.

It is generally thought to be a good sign for everyone involved to participate in a dispute resolution process because it allows each party the opportunity to settle the dispute without heavy legal costs. When the meeting begins, the accuser and the defendant will both take turns voicing their opinion over the matter, and it is often a tense situation. An arbitrator is normally present to ensure that conversations do not drift too far from the issue at hand, and this individual has complete control over how the resolution will unfold. Although he is not there to take sides or pass judgment, the arbitrator should not allow anyone to be bullied during the proceeding.

Dispute resolution in civil matters sometimes requires a neutral third party who is trained to diffuse emotional situations.
Dispute resolution in civil matters sometimes requires a neutral third party who is trained to diffuse emotional situations.

Legal representation is not required for the dispute resolution process, but many people opt to have an attorney present anyway. While this meeting normally takes place inside a courthouse, each side is allowed to speak casually. Once the arbitrator feels like each side has shared his or her viewpoint, he will ask each side what they feel would be a fair settlement. In some situations it may involve monetary compensation, but other cases may involve granting certain rights, benefits, or reprimands as well. Absolutely anything can be requested or offered during the dispute resolution process; it is solely at each side's discretion as to what constitutes fairness.

Since the dispute resolution process is completely voluntary, either side is free to end the discussions at any time. In many cases, this means that a settlement is made, but in other situations one side may walk out of the meeting due to frustration. An important fact to remember is that both sides only get one attempt at a peaceful resolution, and if the case goes to trial, both sides would have considerable expenses involved. Legal fees alone could add up to much more than what it would cost to settle the case in a civil manner, which is why businesses often agree to the dispute resolution process in the first place.

Dispute resolution involves bringing parties together, exploring the issues behind their conflict, and then finding a resolution to those issues that is satisfactory for all parties.
Dispute resolution involves bringing parties together, exploring the issues behind their conflict, and then finding a resolution to those issues that is satisfactory for all parties.

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