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HYBRID RESOLUTION PROCESSES

Because the intervention of a third party—a person, a government agency, or other institutions—can often facilitate dispute resolution among conflicting parties, several “hybrid” dispute-resolution processes have arisen in recent decades in addition to the primary processes just described. The term “hybrid” is used because these processes incorporate features of the primary processes. The main hybrid processes include rent-a- judge, med-arb, and minitrial (Goldberg et al., 2012).

The rent-a-judge process is basically a form of arbitration. In this process, the disputants, in an attempt to avoid the use of a regular court, select a retired judge to hear and decide a pending case as an arbitrator would. The same procedure is used as in court, and the decision of the retired judge is legally binding. Unlike in arbitration, the retired judge’s decision can be appealed for errors of law or on the ground that the judgment was against evidence, though such appeals are rare.

Another hybrid process is med-arb, in which the issues that were not solved by mediation are submitted to arbitration, with the same person serving first as mediator and then as arbitrator. Med-arb has been used often in contract negotiation disputes between public employers and their unionized employees. A third hybrid process is the minitrial, which has been repeatedly utilized in a number of big inter-corporate disputes. In this method, attorneys for each disputant are given a short time (not more than a day) in which to present the basic elements of their case to senior executives of both parties. After the presentation, the senior executives try to negotiate a settlement of the case, usually with the aid of a neutral advisor. If there is no settlement, the advisor gives the parties an opinion of the likely outcome if the dispute were litigated. This dose of reality at times helps to break the deadlock.

LAW AND DISPUTE RESOLUTION

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