Knowing the Difference Between Mediation and Litigation - Pollack PBS


There are a few different ways to settle a conflict or dispute that may be happening in your personal or professional life. Knowing the difference between mediation and litigation can help you get a head start on determining which one may be best for your particular needs.

The Difference Between Mediation and Litigation

Not many people know the difference between mediation and litigation but arming yourself with this information can help make it easier to navigate a current or potential dispute. Here are the differences:


Litigation is another term for a lawsuit. This legal type of conflict resolution may be necessary in cases of personal injury or breaches of contract. With this particular form of resolution, a judge or a jury will bear witness to a plaintiff’s claim against the defendant and make a ruling based on the information and evidence presented. So when deciding between mediation or litigation, you may want to consider whether or not you and the other party would be able to reach a settlement on their own, or if lawyers will be necessary. For disputing parties that frequently encounter roadblocks to communication, litigation may be a helpful approach. Understanding this is the first step in understanding the difference between mediation and litigation.


Meditation is where one neutral third-party guides disputing parties to their joint conclusion. This method is best for conflicts that begin more amiably and may not require a lawyer, judge, or panel of third-party decision-makers to weigh in on the conflict. Mediation is more flexible and voluntary and typically does not include court orders or statutes to dictate the outcome. Unlike litigation, mediation has the two conflicting parties and the mediator set the tone for these unofficial proceedings, including where the mediation will take place, how it will be paid for, who will be present, and how each person should interact with each other throughout. Keep this in mind so you can determine if and when mediation is right for you and your conflict resolution needs.


Mediation and litigation are not the only forms of official conflict resolution that can help you in your time of need. Many people often ask about the differences between mediation arbitration and litigation so you may be wondering about arbitration and if that may be a better solution to your dispute. Arbitration is similar to mediation in that they’re alternatives to litigation, although either can be used in addition to litigation as well. Arbitration typically has a panel of multiple people who act in place of a judge and make decisions based on the evidence provided. Generally, each party will select an arbitrator and then those two will decide together on a third arbitrator. This helps create a balanced, unbiased dispute resolution.

So now that you know the difference between mediation and litigation and whether or not arbitration may be a good third option, you can begin working toward resolving your conflict.

But if you’re still struggling with understanding how mediation and litigation apply to your particular conflict, contact Pollack Peacebuilding Solutions today to get professional support with the right kind of resolution!

Difference Between Mediation and Litigation

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