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Frie, Arndt & Danborn Blog

Alternative Dispute Resolution – Med-Arb

by Frie, Arndt & Danborn

Med-Arb is a process whereby:Olde Town Water Tower, Arvada, Colorado

-a neutral and impartial third party

-facilitates communication between negotiating parties and,

-failing settlement, receives evidence and testimony provided by the parties and issues a binding decision.

Med-Arb is a hybrid of two very different ADR processes, mediation and arbitration. By selecting a neutral to serve as both mediator and arbitrator in their dispute, the parties have the benefit of the techniques of assisted negotiations and discussion coupled with the outcome of a final and binding decision.

The risk of using med-arb is that the parties may not be candid with the mediator, knowing that the mediator may become an arbitrator. Additionally, there is a difference between facts in mediation and facts in arbitration. In mediation, whatever the parties agree upon is fact. In arbitration, however, facts must be proven. Essentially, med-arb provides leveraged mediation. When used successfully, the parties rarely go to the arbitration phase.

The process works best when the participants are of relatively equal bargaining experience and when the efficiency of a combined procedure outweighs the inhibiting or strategic effect of the mediator’s anticipated role change. Med-arb can save time and money by using the same neutral to make the decision instead of having to present the dispute in its entirety to a different arbitrator. In situations where the parties have an ongoing relationship, such as family or labor disputes, med-arb can help the parties preserve their relationship by promoting voluntary communication and settlement, with arbitration only being used to decide those issues upon which the parties cannot reach agreement.

Med-arb should be considered when a negotiated settlement is desired, but when a quick settlement or decision is needed.

Our firm attempts to utilize Alternative Dispute Resolution in each case in which it would benefit the client.  Additionally, Jim Arndt is a private mediator and acts as a neutral third party to resolve disputes out of court.  Please give our office a call to assist you with your legal problems.


This is an excerpt from an article published by the Colorado Bar Association, 2002. https://www.cobar.org/index.cfm/ID/211/subID/1244/CAAD/Manual-on-Alternative-Dispute-Resolution/