Mediation-Arbitration used together combine the advantages of each of the two separate methods of dispute resolution into one hybrid process. Within the binding structure of the arbitration process, mediation provides the opportunity for the parties to move the pieces of their dispute about to puzzle out a solution.
The mediation process provides for flexibility of approach, exploration of options and party autonomy in reaching a conclusion. But may fail to finalise the dispute because on some matters the parties are unable to agree. Even though the majority of issues may have been resolved by agreement, the inability to finalise all matters of dispute means that the dispute continues and the costs grow.
Binding arbitration provides finality to the dispute. It is akin to court determination, whilst not being restricted by formal court rules relating to procedure and acceptance of evidence. Combined with mediation, it can be employed in a limited way to provide a binding and legally defensible decision in respect of only those matters that have failed to be agreed between the parties.
Used together the processes enable parties to engage in collaborative and collective decision making with the assistance of professional mediators as well as argue their legal rights before arbitrators who will make a final and legally binding decision.