"Med/arb" involves the same person acting first as mediator, then (if any issues remain unresolved) acting as arbitrator in making a decision which is binding on the disputants. This brings certainty of resolution and can be cheaper and quicker than appointing a different person to arbitrate. It works best when the parties make their choice after the mediation phase. If they do choose the mediator as arbitrator they must waive any objection that the mediator received and will not disclose information provided in confidence during the mediation. Alan's mediation agreement recognises that the parties may wish to proceed in this way. To read Alan's paper "Med-Arb getting the best of both worlds", click here.
"Arb/med" is the reverse of "med/arb". The neutral person acts first as arbitrator, producing a written decision which is not revealed to the parties. The arbitrator then acts as mediator. If the mediation is successful, the decision never sees the light of day. If the parties do not resolve all issues at the mediation, the decision is revealed and binds the parties. Provided that the arbitration phase is contained within a previously agreed short period of time, so as to limit the cost, this hybrid process can be very successful, since (as in med-arb) the parties know their dispute will be over, one way or another, and the knowledge that a decision will be imposed if they cannot agree encourages them to try their hardest to reach agreement in the mediation stage.