Med-Arb- Is It a Process Whose Time Has Come By Don Sinkov{3:12 minutes to read} For many years there has been a discussion in the mediation/arbitration community about when to choose different forms of dispute resolution. And additionally, when, if any time, is appropriate for binding arbitration.

Credit card companies usually contain arbitration clauses, but since the arbitrators often are supplied large volumes of work by that same company, are they under pressure to decide their cases in favor of the credit card company? Are they truly unbiased?

In cases where there is no contract provision, some choose arbitration rather than litigation because it is faster and costs less. Plus, you get the benefit of an unbiased 3rd party making a ruling based on the evidence you present. 

As a former arbitrator, I often look at cases from an arbitrator’s point of view. I listen to the arguments, weigh the evidence, and get an idea of what a court or arbitration outcome might be.

Because I’m most often doing mediation, I don’t express those opinions to my clients. But it’s like telling a lawyer that he can never look at a case from a legal perspective when doing mediation. It’s almost impossible. You can’t take the training out of your head, but you can regulate it, apply it where it’s helpful and not apply it where you shouldn’t.

Recently, I’ve been asked to do binding arbitration in a matrimonial case. The attorneys and clients have tried numerous mediation sessions that yielded no result. Although I exclusively do divorce mediation now, I understand that if mediation has not yielded a result, they need a different process that costs less and is faster than litigation. I sometimes do settlement conferencing with good results. But binding arbitration? Not so much.

In binding arbitration, both parties agree to be bound by the arbitrator’s decision. You have the opportunity to present your side of the issues. The arbitrator will then issue a ruling on those matters which have been submitted to him or her.

What are the benefits to binding arbitration?

  • You get someone to listen to your side of the issues, thus providing validation.
  • You get to present the information you have, the way you want it presented.
  • You get a ruling from somebody who is neutral.

This can be beneficial, especially to those who tried mediation but refuse any form of compromise.

Can a couple benefit by using binding arbitration to settle certain discrete issues in a matrimonial case? Because of the cost of litigation, is it a process whose time has come?

About Don Sinkov

Don Sinkov Your Divorce Mediator Westchester County, NY Putnam County, NY Phone: (914) 588-6258 eMail: