Alternative Dispute Resolution

 
Douglas J. Widman is a Rule 1:40 Mediator and court appointed Arbitrator for the N.J. Superior Courts. As a former Condemnation Commissioner, former member of the Supreme Court District IX Fee Arbitration Committee and member of the N.J. Association of Professional Mediators, he has had considerable experience in alternative dispute resolution practices.

Mediation

 
Mediation is a non-binding dispute resolution process in which an impartial third party (the mediator) facilitates negotiations among the parties to help them reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary settlement.

The major distinction between mediation and arbitration is that, unlike an arbitrator, a mediator does not make a decision about the outcome of the case. Mediation allows the parties the opportunity to communicate their feelings, clear up misunderstandings, identify interests and options, find areas of agreement, and, ultimately, incorporate these areas into an agreement devised by the parties themselves without the court determining the matter based on law or an exact value of the case as in the traditional trial process.
 
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Benefits of Participation in Mediation:
  • Cost-efficient
  • Less formal
  • Confidential
  • More creative solutions that can benefit both sides

Arbitration

Arbitration is generally favored and enforced by courts in New Jersey. Arbitration is a way for parties to resolve their disputes without going to court and having a judge decide the outcome. It usually saves the parties from the expense of a prolonged litigation and offers a finality to the dispute. An arbitrator is a neutral person that is appointed and paid for by the parties whose role is to supervise the conflict and listen to each side's version of events. At the conclusion of the arbitration hearing, the arbitrator will offer an opinion on what the outcome of the conflict should be. In a binding arbitration, the parties agree not to take the case to court because the arbitrator's decision is the final outcome of the dispute.