Is an Arbitration or Mediation Always Binding?

Is an Arbitration or Mediation Always Binding?

Arbitration is Generally Binding, and Mediation is Generally Voluntary

Are you preparing for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to resolve a legal dispute? You need to be fully prepared for what to expect from the process. You may have a lot of questions about the enforceability of arbitration and mediation. Our Pearland and Lake Jackson civil law attorneys explains the key things to know about arbitration and mediation in Texas.

Arbitration and Mediation are Forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

As explained by the State Bar of Texas, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a broad term used to describe formalized processes through which a “neutral third party facilitates settlement of a dispute outside of a formal court of law.” Arbitration and mediation are two of the most common types of ADR in Texas. They are also wholly separate legal processes. There are important differences between how arbitration and mediation work in Texas.

Arbitration in Texas: May or May Not be Binding, Limited Appeal Rights

Arbitration is a form of ADR that resembles trial. Parties go before and present their case to a neutral third-party arbitrator. In some cases, parties to a dispute enter arbitration voluntarily after a conflict has arisen. In other cases, parties are compelled into arbitration based on the terms of a pre-dispute arbitration provision within a contract.

In a binding arbitration, the neutral third-party arbitrator is empowered to render a final judgment. Many pre-dispute arbitration clauses compel parties to enter binding arbitration. There are very limited appeal rights with binding arbitration. Indeed, a Texas court will not review the actual merits of a case that has been through binding arbitration. The arbitrator’s ruling is almost always final.

Mediation in Texas: Not Binding, But May be Mandatory

Mediation is a form of ADR that puts a focus on collaborative problem-solving. The parties go before a neutral third-party mediator who is tasked with facilitating a resolution. Most often, parties voluntarily enter the mediation process. Though, in some circumstances, mediation is mandatory in Texas. For example, in a lawsuit, a judge may order the parties to go to mediation to try and settle their dispute. Regardless, mediation is not binding. The mediator is not tasked with rendering a decision. Instead, mediation is focused on helping the parties work together to find a sensible settlement.

Get Help From a Civil Law Attorney in Pearland, Texas and Lake Jackson, Texas

At Cordoba Law Firm, PLLC, we have the skills, experience, and legal expertise to handle the full range of alternative dispute resolution matters. If you have any questions about arbitration or mediation, we are ready to help you find the best path forward. Contact us now to schedule a fully confidential initial appointment with an experienced attorney. We represent clients in arbitration and litigation in Matagorda County, Harris County, Brazoria County, and surrounding counties.