A combination of mediation and arbitration is an amazing way to solve conflicts. This process might be carried out with mediation followed by arbitration or vice-versa. It might so happen that the parties can decide to go through a mediation process but later change the process to arbitration to reach a final decision and have a binding award. There can also be contracts that would clearly define what to do in case of a dispute. A combination of mediation and arbitration helps parties to resolve cases in whichever way that might suit them. When the parties face difficulties to reach a mutual understanding mediation and arbitration can help the parties to reach a binding solution. Parties can also decide to keep the same neutral partner for both the mediation and the arbitration process. This way it won’t cost the parties any extra amount to resolve a dispute and they can continue to work on their case without much trouble. Deciding to keep the same neutral partner can also benefit the parties by not having to educate the partner on their case again. Both parties either mutually decide on which way to settling disputes or the settlement procedure is being written in the relevant contract in case of any dispute.
In cases of a combined mediation and arbitration (med-arb) procedure, a close judicial review takes place, especially where the same neutral partner is present. Even though the issue of confidentiality in mediation is undermined, the neutral partner might come across some information about either of the parties that he/she might use it when he/she takes over the arbitration procedure and it might determine the decision taken by the neutral partner. Neutral partners might be very certain of not coming across any information but they can’t always help it. They aren’t supposed to come across confidential information and neither are they supposed to use it later in the arbitration procedure.
Typically in the mediation-arbitration combination procedure, it so happens that the parties don’t openly speak about the issues because it might determine the binding award. They hesitate a lot to disclose matters and hold back a lot of necessary information. In case of just mediation, parties can openly discuss reasons behind the conflict and can either agree to the final decision or figure out an alternative, it's not binding. But when arbitration comes into play either of the parties or both can try and manipulate ways into the conferences held by the neutral partner to shape a decision in his/her mind that can rule in the favor of the one who manipulates more. Hence, judicial review is extremely important to see if the neutral partner has taken an absolute neutral decision.
It is a voluntary decision of the parties to choose to resolve conflicts by way of a combination of med-arb just to reach a binding decision, and sometimes also they use this as a threat to the mediators so that they can come up with a solution fast under the pressure of time and effective labor. Med-arb isn’t any separate procedure to resolve issues; it is a combination of both the worlds of mediation and arbitration. It has helped parties a lot to come to a final agreement and not take issues unnecessarily to the court to litigate.