Dispute Resolution

I understood that the AIA recommends the following steps for dispute resolution:

  1. mediation
  2. arbitration
  3. litigation

A Black Spectacles practice problem noted that negotiation, not mediation, would be the first step to resolving a dispute. Is mediation not a form of negotiation?

The problem referenced the AHPP, which, in my opinion, supports my interpretation of the problem.


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Hi @Smith.Marks let’s get one of our expert architects to help break this down.
@coachjakegroth do you mind helping?

Broadly speaking, mediation is a more informal dispute resolution process than arbitration in which a neutral party – a mediator – assists two or more parties in reaching a negotiated settlement on their own.

By this you can see that you are indeed correct when you said ‘mediation is a form of negotiation.’ BUT, what we have seen and see on the ARE is this negotiation just grouped together with mediation. Negotiation is typically informal whereas mediation is more formal and involves a third party.

This is why I like to think of mediation as the next step after negotiation as it is really just ‘formally assisted negotiation.’

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