Alternative Dispute Resolution : Mini Trial Essay

Alternative Dispute Resolution : Mini Trial Essay

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Alternative Dispute Resolution: Mini-Trial
Disputes are almost unavoidable between people when there are disagreements or misunderstandings. In the construction industry, contractual relationships could lead to dispute. To resolve disputes, construction disputes are most likely encouraged to use Alternative Dispute Resolutions such as arbitration, mediation, and mini-trials to resolve their disputes faster and keep the dispute confidential and at lower cost (Ray, 2000). The construction case presented in this paper first resorted to negotiation; however, it could not give the parties a resolution which led to a mini-trial.
A mini-trial is not a trial but it is a hybrid dispute resolution which consists of both mediation and arbitration. To start, a brief explanation of mediation and arbitration will make a better understand of how and why the case was settled after a mini-trial and not during negotiation. First off, mediation is a type of negotiation with a third party to help the disputant parties make a settlement (Coltri, 2009). But can only be successful if both parties cooperate and are sincerely hoping to make a settlement. The mediator (third party) resolving the parties’ dispute is usually knowledgeable in the field of the disputants’ issue. In the process of mediating, the mediator listens to both the disputants communicate about their situation and brings them to understand whether their demands are reasonable or not (Ray, 2000). And arbitration is similar to a judicial court trial in some ways. The similarity in the way it functions includes each party giving an opening statement, evidence, witnesses, and a closing settlement (Ray, 2000). The difference in the way it is structured is that instead of a judge and jury, th...

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...n 4 hours under representative to present their cases and a closing statement after each case was presented (Ray, 2000). Four weeks after their mini-trial both parties agreed to settle at $3.5 million (Ray, 2000).
Although the negotiation couldn’t give the disputants a resolution to the disputes, it was an advantage to helping the parties understand the strength and weaknesses of each other (Smith, n.d). The mini-trial let them exchange information between the disputants and summarize their understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Aside from the arbitrators’ conclusion, exchanging information and summarizing strength and weaknesses helped them make a settlement based on those understandings. Aside from the 5 months of negotiation, the mini-trial helped preserve business relationships, saves times and also costs less in comparison to litigation (Smith, n.d.).

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