When members of the public hear attorneys use terms like “alternative dispute resolution,” they can often be left wondering if lawyers like to use obscure language so others will not know what they’re talking about. While this might not be that far from the truth, the terms that lawyers use are often obscure because they need to be. In Texas, as well as in other states, lawyers have to be very careful about what they say and how they say it, which is why terms like “alternative dispute resolution” are so common.
To help clear up some the confusion, and help you get a better idea of what alternative dispute resolution in Dallas Texas is, here are a couple of facts you should know about this legal process.
Resolving Legal Disagreements Outside of Court
Alternative dispute resolution is simply a term that describes non-litigation based methods people can use to overcome their legal disagreements. Litigation is a fancy word for the lawsuit process. When, for example, people have a disagreement about how a trustee is managing the trust, they might file a lawsuit to resolve the problem. With alternative dispute resolution, the parties use processes that don’t involve filing a lawsuit, going through the discovery process, and going to court.
Alternative Dispute Resolution and Mediation
Mediation is one of the two main types of alternative dispute resolution that people use. In mediation, both sides of the legal disagreements will meet with a neutral third party, called the mediator. The mediator is there to act as a type of counselor. The mediator allows both sides to a disagreement the ability to meet together in a neutral and private setting where they can discuss their disagreement. Mediators will listen to each side individually and often propose solutions, but he or she does not have any ability to impose a ruling.
In mediation, it’s up to both sides to determine if they are willing to come to an agreement, and what the terms of that agreement are. Mediation is voluntary, so if either side no longer wishes to participate, they are free to leave.
Alternative Dispute Resolution and Arbitration
The second most common form of ADR is arbitration. Much like mediation, arbitration allows both sides to meet in a neutral and private setting to discuss their disagreement. However, arbitration is also little more formal. It usually involves both sides presenting their evidence and arguments in front of the third-party neutral arbitrator. It then falls to the arbitrator to issue a ruling about the disagreement.
If the arbitration is non-binding, both sides to the disagreement are free to accept or reject the arbitrator’s ruling as they so choose. However, if they are participating in binding arbitration, the arbitrator’s ruling is final in much the same way that a court’s ruling is final.