What’s The Difference between Litigation and Mediation?


Conflicts and disputes can be resolved in many ways; these include litigation and mediation. But what’s the difference? In laymen’s terms, the easiest possible way to define the difference between litigation and mediation is the involvement of a court in conflict resolution.


Litigation is resolving a dispute or a case by taking it to court (i.e., it’s legally binding). The proceedings may be referred to as a lawsuit on legal grounds where the judge bears witness to the plaintiffs’ claims against the defendant. Once initiated, litigation follows strict timelines and procedures, which can build a moment of direction paired with a rapidly escalating cost. The ruling is based upon the evidence and information provided by all parties concerned.



On the contrary, mediation is a method where a single independent mediator (also referred to as the neutral third party) helps the concerned parties reach a negotiated settlement outside of court by facilitating discussion. This method is, therefore, more confidential, flexible, and voluntary. Unlike litigation, the outcome of mediation isn’t dictated; however, the mediator takes the responsibility of conducting the procedure and ensuring that discussions are confidential. Best of all is that the likelihood of reaching a financially acceptable agreement through mediation is high as the parties are able to directly communicate their terms for settlement. Furthermore, if the parties do not feel the mediation process is being helpful or unable to reach an agreement, the parties participating in mediation are free to call it quits at any time during the process.

How Is One Better Than The Other?

When faced with a conflict or dispute, there are many options to consider; two options are litigation or mediation as an alternative dispute resolution procedure. The first question you should ask yourself is whether you and the opposing party will reach an agreement through mutual consent. If you encounter frequent roadblocks to communication, then you should hire a lawyer. Although litigation can be an expensive procedure in terms of the costs associated with the court case, it does make things easier to be backed up by a solicitor on legal and commercial matters. With that being said, experts claim that we’ll notice a significant growth in alternative dispute resolution procedures such as arbitration and mediation over litigation in the future due to rising costs and the complexity of disputes.

Conflicts can be frustrating, and so can be researching your options for mediation — but luckily, you can turn to Minute Mediation for your partnership, workplace, contractual, or property & construction disputes. We’re a mediation and conflict management consultancy that focuses on alternative dispute resolution techniques and tools for conflict resolution. Contact us today!

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