A Legal Guide to Conflict Resolution Processes

In today’s complex world, it is important for one to be familiar with the law and the different processes and terminology that come with it. Here, we take a look at several terms and procedures that you may come across in the normal course of business.

The most common reason for turning to legalities is for dispute settlement. There are several ways to achieve this and each method is typically used depending on circumstances. These methods include arbitration, mediation, conciliation, and lawsuits. These methods can be generally classified under two different categories – adjudicative processes and consensual processes.

Adjudicative Processes

With an adjudicative process, the help or services of a third party is engaged to determine the outcome or the resolution. Arbitration and lawsuits fall under this category.

In arbitration, the disputing parties agree with each other to be bound by the decision of a pre-designated arbitrator. An arbitrator, or arbiter, is an impartial individual chosen by both parties to solve the dispute on hand. The arbiter reviews the case and impresses a decision that may be considered as legally binding for the parties involved. This method is a type of alternative dispute resolution that settles disputes outside the court and is normally used to settle conflicts involving commercial trade and employment. This is because arbitration is ideal for cases involving technical subject matter as one can choose to get arbiters knowledgeable about the topic. It can also be faster, cheaper, and more confidential, lending itself easily to the needs of businesses.

Lawsuits, also known as litigation, differ from arbitration in the sense that these involve the court. The parties bring the issue to a court of law where a judge hears out the case and hands out a verdict. This verdict is legally binding to the parties involved, though one may appeal.

Consensual Processes

Methods under the consensual process include mediation and conciliation. Here, the parties attempt to reach an agreement among themselves.

Mediation is considered as one of the most effective methods of settling a conflict peacefully. A third party known as a mediator assists in the negotiation between the parties involved so they can amicably reach their own settlement. The outcome will be an agreement signed by the parties stating the resolution agreed upon.

With conciliation, the dispute is settled by employing the services of a conciliator. The conciliator meets with the aggrieved parties separately to hear their side and make concessions. It is different from other methods such as arbitration and mediation in that this process has no legal bearing and its main purpose is to make peace, usually by having each side make concessions. The parties to the conflict rarely meet, or may not meet at all, so as to diffuse tension.



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