Construction Law

Arbitration vs. Mediation Part 1 featured image

Arbitration vs. Mediation Part 1

Sometimes, it’s not a matter of if you are going to have conflict during a construction project but how you handle it. It’s always a good practice to have provisions in your contract that guide how disputes will be resolved. While, a West Palm construction attorney can guide you through the litigation process, if needed, you don’t want it to come to that. The cost and duration of litigation can have a negative impact on your business.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) offers a more cost and time effective resolution to construction conflicts. There are two primary forms of ADR, arbitration and mediation. While they both are conducted with the goal of resolving disputes, they approach the issue in different ways. In this two-part, series we will explore similarities and differences in these forms of ADR.

Binding vs. Non-Binding

The biggest difference between arbitration and mediation is the nature of the decisions that come from it. Decisions in arbitration cases are legally binding. The arbitrator or panel essentially serves as a judge or jury. They will hear arguments from both sides, examine evidence and render a decision. On other hand, a mediator works with the conflicting parties to reach common ground on an issue. If and when a decision is made, an agreement is signed by both parties.


Both arbitration and mediation are conducted in a considerably shorter timeframe than litigation. This is due, in part, to the fact that litigation calls for a much more detailed discover process. In the case of mediation, discovery is not called for at all. Arbitration is typically shorter than mediation because of the discovery and deliberation that are a part of the process.

Level of Expertise

In mediation and arbitration, mediators and arbitrators can be selected for their technical expertise and experience in the construction industry. Oftentimes, these people do not have a legal background. In litigation, it’s not likely that the judge or jury will have a construction background. If the dispute is technical in nature, it may be difficult for a judge or jury to make the best decision.

If you would like to speak with a West Palm construction attorney, please contact us at 954.210.8735, or submit our contact request form.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.