Litigation vs Arbitration vs Mediation: What’s the Difference?

The law is available for you to use, but it’s no secret that legal battles are costly and time consuming. To avoid a financially and emotionally exhausting legal battle, more and more individuals, businesses, and government entities choose not to go to trial. In this case, they use arbitration or mediation to reach a resolution. Knowing the differences between litigation, arbitration, and mediation is important as each approach has its pros and cons.

Let’s discuss the basics on litigation, arbitration, and mediation. Talk to Susan Pinkston, an experienced attorney in Ridgeland MS to determine which approach is best for your circumstances.



In litigation, a judge listens to both parties’ testimonies and evidence. The judge also factors in the law and who it favors. With this information, a decision can be made. If either party is unhappy with the verdict, they can appeal it. However, there’s no guarantee that the judge’s decision will be overturned. While litigation can be effective, it is very costly and time consuming, and the relationship between the two parties is most likely severed forever.



In the case of arbitration, an experienced arbitrator (or arbitration panel) hears both parties’ testimonies and reviews evidence, as well as the law and the arbitrator or panel then makes a binding decision is made based on this information. Though arbitration is less formal than litigation, it does take time and money to research all the facts and make a thoughtful decision. Also, the arbitrator’s decision cannot be appealed.



Mediation is different from litigation and arbitration in the fact that one party is not “right” or “wrong”. The goal is to determine if an agreement can be reached between both parties. The benefits to mediation include less costs, less time, and potentially repaired relationships.

During mediation, an experienced trained mediator guides the parties to a mutually acceptable agreement by listening to both sides and developing as many options as possible. These options are compared to the alternatives. The information discussed in mediation is confidential, regardless of whether an agreement can be reached. If no agreement is reached, all options are withdrawn, and the parties go back to a status quo.

Litigation, arbitration, and mediation each have their place in the legal system. If you are currently dealing with a legal issue and need guidance from a legal professional, avoid the time and expense of a costly litigation by contacting Susan G. Pinkston, an attorney in Ridgeland MS.

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