Through the past few decades, there has been a steady increase of civil suits flowing into courtrooms around the country. The court system has not been able to catch up to the mounting volume, resulting in cases that otherwise would take only months to reach resolution ending up taking years. Although taking certain cases to court to be decided by judge and/or jury has its merits, many disputes can be resolved outside of the courtroom. Traditionally, filing a civil suit to be decided in court has been the norm, and it’s still an effective method for those types of cases that cannot be resolved otherwise.
If you have a dispute that you feel might not require resolution by the courts, such as by trial or hearing, ARC Mediation's dispute resolution neutrals can help. Our neutrals are experienced in dispute resolution and could help you save time and money.
Some alternatives to filing a full-blown civil suit are readily available: mediation arbitration, neutral umpiring and private judging. The benefits of these alternatives transcend the saving of time. Overall, the cost is much lower than taking a case to court. The State of Florida began supporting alternative dispute resolution in 1975 with the founding of the first citizen dispute settlement (CDS) center in Dade County. In 1987, Florida Statues were expanded to give trial judges the authority to refer civil disputes to arbitration and mediation. (1)
Arbitration is similar to litigation in the sense that it employs the use of a judicial figure known as an arbitrator (or arbiter) to reach a binding conclusion. For the arbitrator, the goal is to find a solution that goes as far as possible to the best interest of all parties involved in the dispute. One of the major benefits of arbitration is the speed of the resolution, and in some cases the ability of the parties to select the arbitrator for their dispute -- an option that is not available in litigation.
Mediation is another viable alternative. This method does not find a binding judgment at the conclusion of the process. Rather, the mediator works to find compromises on all sides, which the disputants themselves agree upon. In mediation, the mediator's duty is to guide the opposing parties into a collaborative solution.
Private judging is a step between litigation and arbitration in terms of formality and control by these parties -- in that the case is heard in court -- but privately -- with a judge who presides specifically for that case. These judges usually are former public judges or those retired from the bench.
It can be difficult to determine which method of dispute resolution is appropriate for your case. If you or a loved one are facing a conflict that you feel could benefit from resolution outside of the courtroom in Palm Beach County, consult with our dispute resolution neutrals. We have the skill and experience to help you determine the best method of dispute resolution for your unique situation. ARC Mediation's neutrals are skilled in dispute resolution alternatives, and can guide you to find the best solution.
ARC Mediation provides alternative dispute resolution services in Palm Beach County, including Boca Raton, Jupiter, West Palm Beach and other locations throughout Florida.
1. 20th Judicial Circuit (http://www.ca.cjis20.org/web/programs/adr.asp)