Disputes & Litigation

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Disputes and litigation are the all-encompassing and various dispute resolution processes for legal issues. Each of these processes can be used in any subject matter area of law.

The most common of these processes are mediation, arbitration and litigation, as described below:

  • Mediation is the voluntary, agreed process to formally or informally resolve a pending disagreement or dispute. Mediation may be attempted by the disputants on their own account but is often conducted by a third party selected by the parties, or a court. If litigation is pending, the court may often require an attempt to resolve the matter by mediation before allowing a trial before the court. For example, in most contested family law cases, the court will require mediation before conducting a full trial of the case.
  • Arbitration is the voluntary, agreed process to formally resolve a pending dispute through a third party, other than a court at law. In this case, the parties agree that the third party will hear the facts and evidence of the situation and then issue a binding decision on the matter. Many parties use arbitration services, like the American Arbitration Association, to conduct an arbitration.
  • Litigation is the voluntary or involuntary process of resolving disputes before a court. In some cases, the dispute will be heard by a jury which will resolve questions of fact in the case. The court (a judge) always decides questions about the law. Litigation is usually the most expensive and time-consuming process to resolve a dispute.

Consulting with and working with an attorney is highly recommended, in all these situations. An attorney will understand the procedural and evidentiary requirements, particularly in a court, where you may risk waiving important rights if you choose to act on your own.

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