Binding mediation provides a fast, easy way to end disputes0
Luckily, there are ways around this. A variety of alternative dispute resolution Sydney methods are available to help reduce costs and speed up resolution of civil disputes. The two most-common methods are arbitration, where an arbitrator imposes an outcome on the parties after a formal evidentiary hearing, and mediation, where a mediator assists the parties in reaching an out-of-court settlement through an informal negotiation process.
A mix of the two, referred to as Med-Arb, is also sometimes used. In Med-Arb, the parties first try to settle the dispute with the help of a mediator, but if settlement doesn’t happen the mediator takes on the role of arbitrator, presides over an evidentiary hearing, and issues an order.
Binding mediation is another recent development in alternative dispute resolution. Through this process, the parties agree to first try to settle their dispute through mediation, but if they are unable to reach agreement, they give the mediator the power to make a decision for them. Unlike with Med-Arb, the mediator doesn’t become an arbitrator, and there is no formal Arbitration hearing. Instead, the mediator makes his decision based solely upon what he has learned during the informal mediation process.
According to expert mediator Sydney, binding mediation is good because it creates the environment for a definite resolution. The parties know going in that, even if a settlement isn’t reached, the dispute will be resolved. The process is also much faster, and cheaper, than the traditional Med-Arb processes because there is no evidentiary hearing following the unsuccessful mediation.
But other legal experts have criticized binding mediation because it may decrease the possibility of a settlement and it lacks the safeguards of a fair hearing. The mediator in a binding mediation, as is the case with an arbitrator, is given ultimate power to resolve the matter. However, unlike the arbitration process, and unless the parties provide in their written agreement, there are no safeguards for a fair hearing.