Med-Arb or Med/Arb is a creature of arbitration law and of contract and thus, can have whatever precise meaning is given to it in a given arbitration agreement.
Thus subject to variations, the essence of med-arb is to allow a softer mediation process to occur first thus taking every opportunity of achieving a resolution to a dispute which is not imposed and to which each party to the dispute subscribes voluntarily.
In this initial phase, the presiding neutral third-party acts as a mediator and coaches or encourages the parties towards a settlement taking into account the information received from both at a mediation hearing.
Arbitration Legal Definition — A process by which the parties agree to submit a dispute for a hearing and binding decision by a third-party, an arbitrator(s), who is neither a judge or a Court.
Contract Legal Definition — An agreement between persons which obliges each party to do or not to do a certain thing.
Arbitration Agreement Legal Definition — An agreement between two or more parties to refer a dispute to arbitration.
Mediation Legal Definition — A process by which a neutral facilitator assists the parties to a dispute in communicating and negotiating a settlement.
Med/arb motivates the participants at the mediation given the shadow of the hammer of med/arb: the transformation, if mediation fails, of the process to arbitration. At that point, the presiding officer, now sitting as an arbitrator and no longer as a mediator, is enabled to proceed as if the hearing was one of arbitration and to impose a resolution, a final and binding award, generally relying on the information presented during the mediation hearing.
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