Alternative Dispute Resolution

Generally speaking, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) refers to methods of resolving a legal dispute outside of the courtroom.  Alternative dispute resolution procedures such as negotiation, mediation, or arbitration can often resolve a complex legal dispute quicker, and more cost-effectively, than traditional litigation.  Through the years, the attorneys of HSLC have successfully settled a multitude of complex legal disputes utilizing ADR methods.  Furthermore, partner Nan Hannah is certified by the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission in its Superior Court mediation program and has served as an arbitrator in the North Carolina Court System’s District Court Arbitration Program.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  What is mediation?

Mediation is a form of dispute resolution whereby an independent party attempts to facilitate a resolution, without actually making a formal determination of liability or responsibility.

2.  What is arbitration?

Arbitration is a private determination of a dispute by an independent 3rd party.  As opposed to mediation, an arbitration results in an award in favor of the prevailing party.  Generally an arbitration is decided by either a single appointed arbitrator or a tribunal of appointed arbitrators.

3.  What is AAA Arbitration?

The American Arbitration Award (AAA) is a non-profit organization which has created a standardized set of arbitration rules and also administers arbitration proceedings, should the parties elect to utilize AAA.

4.  How to enforce a mediated settlement agreement?

A mediation generally results in an executed settlement agreement between the parties.  However, should a party fail or refuse to abide by the settlement agreement, a party may file a Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement.

5.  How to enforce an arbitration award?

Depending on the arbitration agreement, an arbitration award may be automatically binding on the parties in form of a filed judgment for the prevailing party.  However, absent those circumstances and if necessary, a party may file a Motion to Confirm Arbitration Award

6.  Is mediation mandatory?

Generally, parties to a dispute can voluntarily submit their dispute to mediation in hopes of reaching a resolution.  However, many business contracts dictate that any dispute between parties be first submitted to mediation before submitting the dispute to the Court.  Moreover, in situations where one party has filed a lawsuit against another in the Superior Courts of North Carolina, the parties will be ordered to attend mediation prior to trial.