What is Med-Arb?
“Mediation” means a process where an impartial and independent third party with no decision-making power attempts to facilitate a mutually acceptable agreement between disputing parties.

Arbitration” means a process where disputing parties agree to an impartial and independent third party deciding the outcome of issues submitted by them for adjudication.
 
- definitions from the Med-Arb: Guidelines and Recommended Standards

  • Med-arb is a hybrid process that combines mediation’s key benefit of the parties creating their own resolutions to a dispute with the assistance of a mediator and the guarantee of an end to the dispute by having an arbitrator decide should the parties not be able to come to agreement.

  • Before the start of a med-arb, the parties decide on a “trigger point” where they switch from mediation to arbitration. They then try to resolve a dispute with the assistance of an impartial med-arbitrator. If and when they hit the trigger point, anything that is left unresolved will be decided by the med-arbitrator. Parties may agree on another trigger point to switch back to mediation.

  • The trigger point can be based on time, budget, impasse, etc.

  • For simplicity, we refer to two broad kinds of med-arb:
    • Civil med-arb – which covers virtually every kind of dispute except “family” and “criminal”.
    • Family med-arb - which covers conflicts within a family including separation, divorce, parenting arrangements, property and asset division, as well as planning tools including estate planning, cohabitation or marriage agreements etc.