`Mediation, Arbitration Emerge as Alternative Dispute Resolution'

Article excerpt

A leading U.S. expert yesterday underlined the importance of mediation and arbitration as attractive alternative dispute resolution methods that avoided litigation.

Jay Siegel, professor of the John F. Kennedy School of Harvard University, stressed the two means have become effective tools in finding solutions to commercial and trading disputes, saving time and money.

``The last quarter of the 20th century saw an unheralded increase in the amount of litigation, which engulfed the judicial system and led to long delays in the adjudication of disputes,'' Siegel said during an international conference on alternative dispute resolution organized by the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (KCAB).

As this trend increased, those concerned with conflict resolution began to look more closely at the utilization of alternative methods for handling disputes to avoid litigation, he said.

``It is important to understand that this spectrum actually consists of a chain of processes. It runs from direct negotiations, in which the parties to the dispute have complete control over both the process and the outcome, to litigation,'' he said.

Between these two poles, we find mediation and arbitration, which provide differences in degree as to process control and outcomes. There is also a lineal synergy to these processes as you move across the spectrum. It is important to understand the nature of each of these separate but linked processes to evaluate their applicability to a particular dispute, he said.

``Thus, parties faced with a failure in negotiations can make an informed judgment as to which method affords them the best chance for resolving the dispute,'' he said. …