Mediation is a voluntary, informal and confidential process in which a neutral “mediator” assists the disputing parties in identifying and discussing issues of concern, exploring various solutions and developing a settlement that is mutually acceptable to them.
There are a number of reasons why mediation is better than trying a case before a judge or a jury. These include time, cost, control and options.
Arbitration offers the flexibility, confidentiality, informality, and cost-effectiveness of mediation. Unlike the mediator, the arbitrator is a neutral who considers the legal arguments, testimony, and evidence presented by the disputants and renders a decision. Once a decision has been rendered, that decision is binding.
REBA/DR is an approved provider under the Trial Court’s court-connected ADR program for the Superior Court, Housing Court and Land Court. These divisions of the Trial Court may refer cases to REBA Dispute Resolution (REBA/DR) for a mandatory mediation screening. During this session, the screener will provide the parties and counsel with information about the REBA/DR program, an overview of the different types of services available, and the many benefits of DR in general. The screener will also discuss the process and details involved in scheduling a DR session, including which neutral to choose, and the timing and costs involved. The parties and counsel are welcome and encouraged to ask any questions they may have.
Confidential Case Evaluation permits a party and/or their lawyers to present a summary of their case for neutral review by an experienced lawyer or former judge. The evaluation includes an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of issues, and a non-binding opinion of the likely outcome, if adjudicated. Settlement often occurs after case evaluation, with significant savings in legal costs to both parties.
Conciliation is a dispute resolution process whereby a “conciliator” meets with the disputing parties, both separately and together, in an attempt to resolve their differences. The conciliator does this by lowering tensions, improving communications, interpreting issues, encouraging parties to explore potential solutions and assisting parties in finding a mutually acceptable outcome.
A conciliator assists each of the parties independently to develop a list of their objectives, and desired outcomes. The conciliator then invites each party separately to prioritize their own list from most to least important. Thereafter, the conciliator goes back and forth between the parties and encourages them to "give" on the objectives one at a time, starting with the least important and working toward the most important for each party in turn. The parties rarely place the same priorities on all objectives, and usually have some objectives that are not listed by the other party. Thus, the conciliator can quickly build a string of successes and help the parties create an atmosphere of trust which the conciliator can continue to develop.