Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Med-Arb Definition:

A form of arbitration in which the arbitrators starts as a mediator but in the event of a failure of mediation, the arbitrator imposes a binding decision.

Related Terms: Mediation

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.

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.

Med-arb is a popular process in US labor relations.

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