Mediation-arbitration (med-arb)—an introduction
Produced in partnership with Philip Harris and Stuart Thwaites of Wright Hassall
Mediation-arbitration (med-arb)—an introduction

The following Dispute Resolution practice note produced in partnership with Philip Harris and Stuart Thwaites of Wright Hassall provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Mediation-arbitration (med-arb)—an introduction
  • What is med-arb?
  • Med-arb–order of process
  • The problem of apparent bias in med-arb
  • The med-arb agreement—the importance of clear waivers
  • The med-arb agreement—ingredients
  • Med-arb in different jurisdictions
  • Mediation—facilitative or evaluative?
  • Some advantages and disadvantages of med-arb
  • Disadvantages
  • More...

Mediation-arbitration (med-arb)—an introduction

This Practice Note considers the use of mediation-arbitration (med-arb) to resolve commercial disputes.

Med-arb is suitable for resolving a wide range of commercial disputes. It is appropriate, for example, for resolving international or cross-border disputes in the construction, energy and infrastructure sectors.

What is med-arb?

Med-arb is a hybrid, two-stage alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process. It usually involves the parties agreeing to grant a mediator power to convert automatically to being an arbitrator, and to make a legally binding arbitral award, if the mediation fails to result in a settlement of the relevant dispute. The arbitration phase of the process will be legally binding, and the arbitrator’s award will be enforceable like an award rendered in standard arbitration proceedings, which is usually advantageous.

There is a range of possible variants to the med-arb process, including having both a mediator and arbitrator present for an opening session. The mediator then conducts a mediation and the arbitrator is only involved again if the mediation fails to reach a settlement. In this variant, the mediation and arbitration are kept separate.

Med-arb can be compared and contrasted with arb-med-arb (or AMA) which typically proceeds as follows:

  1. the claimant commences an arbitration

  2. the tribunal (sole arbitrator or panel) is appointed but immediately stays the arbitration

  3. the parties then mediate

  4. if the mediation is successful, the tribunal makes a consent award recording the

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