Sports Law • Risk Management

The Advantage of Mediation of Sport Disputes

Is your organization involved in litigation or are you dealing with a dispute between 2 or more parties? Litigation is costly, time consuming, necessitates hiring expensive lawyers and means placing the outcome in the hands of a Judge or jury. There are alternative dispute resolutions that should be considered before or after a lawsuit is filed. Two such ADRs are arbitration and mediation.

Arbitration means having a less formal proceeding before a court appointed or agreed upon arbitrator who will listen to the evidence and issue a decision that may or may not be binding, depending on the arbitration agreement. A mediation means having one or more impartial mediators work with the parties to decide upon a mutually agreeable means of resolving the dispute.

There are many advantages of mediation and it has become a very popular means for parties of all different types of disputes to resolve them before going to court. Mediations are informal---there are no rules of evidence or court rules that must be followed and the parties do not need attorneys, although attorneys often represent clients at mediation. Mediation is less costly than a trial and can be used to resolve disputes quickly—well before trial. Another advantage of mediation is that the parties have control of the outcome, not the Judge or jury. No settlement can be reached against the parties’ wills.

With the more common use of webcasts and Skype, or the use of telephones, parties to mediation can conceivably use a mediator that is located a great distance from them. Selection of a mediator must be made carefully. Trust of the mediator is fundamental to success. Also, the mediator should be well trained and be capable of using mediation tools that will assist in resolving the matter.