3 Types of Dispute Resolution: What to Know?

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>With so many different choices regarding conflict resolution, it is understandable to feel confused about which process is best suited for your situation. To make a decision about the resolution of your problem, it is useful to know how the processes of conflict resolution differ, and how to adapt them to various situations.

What Is Dispute Resolution?

Dispute resolution can be a complicated multistep process of settling differences legally. It can take on many forms and end in many different ways. While considering the process of conflict resolution it is important to ask yourself a few useful questions.

First of all, it is extremely important to know what your goals for this resolution are. Is your priority a quick and cheap resolution? Do you think that the decision in your resolution has to be made by both parties willingly? Or maybe you hope to win a large financial settlement? Would you benefit from formal protection and key decision enforcement?

You also have to consider which of the different processes of dispute resolution will capitalize the best on the strengths of your case as well as which one will be best suited to overcome the possible barriers to resolution. When it comes to differences between the processes of resolution of your dispute, there are three main basic types to consider.


Mediation is a process when a neutral third party helps the disputants to come to an agreement on their own. The main benefit of mediation is that it allows the disputants to explore their feelings, grievances and fully analyze the situation.

Instead of enforcing the solution, mediators work with both parties together, or sometimes separately and help them figure out a dispute resolution that is sustainable, voluntary, and nonbinding. Keep in mind that even if a mediator is not able to help both parties to reach a decision, and the process of arbitration, or litigation is eventually needed, you already have a better understanding of the situation because of the mediation process that you’ve already went through.


In the process of arbitration, a neutral third party is selected as a judge, who has the responsibility to resolve the dispute. The arbitrator looks at the evidence presented by each party, listens as they argue their case and then makes a binding decision. It is useful to keep in mind that both, mediation and arbitration are much cheaper ways to deal with dispute resolution than litigation.


Civil litigation process is often the most common process of conflict resolution. It involves a defendant facing off against a plaintiff before either a judge or a judge and jury. The information and evidence conveyed during the process of litigation enter and stay on the public record. The judge and jury are responsible for evaluating the evidence and coming to a decision. Litigation works best when parties have a disagreement about how the law works, regarding the case of their dispute.

Dispute resolution can be a tricky process. Consider these different types of resolution and decide on their strengths and weaknesses. Each of them can work great in a certain type of situation, you just need to choose carefully.

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John is a serial entrepreneur and writer who is passionate about helping small businesses launch and grow. His work has been featured in Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and Forbes.