Glossary of Dispute Resolution Terms

Arbitration is the submission of a dispute to one or more impartial persons for a final and binding decision. Through contractual provisions, the parties may control the range of issues to be resolved, the scope of relief to be awarded, and many procedural aspects of the process.

Awards are the decisions of arbitrators. Awards are made in writing and are enforceable in court under state and federal statutes. Enforcement actions, when necessary, are brought by the parties to the arbitration.

Case administrators/managers are the AAA staff persons assigned to administer cases. The case administrator is responsible for the general management of a particular case, including panel selection, scheduling and exchange of information among the parties, and all of the other administrative details involved in moving cases through the system.

Caucuses are meetings in which a mediator talks with the parties individually to discuss the issues.

Claimants are filing parties, also known as plaintiffs.

Counterclaims are counterdemands made by a respondent in his or her favor against a claimant. They are not mere answers or denials of the claimant's allegations.

Demands for Arbitration are unilateral filings of claims in arbitration, based on a contractual or statutory right; also, the form used.

Dispute Review Boards a three-member construction panel selected by the owner and contractor after a contract is awarded but before disputes arise available to observe problems and offer immediate solutions at the job site. This "real time" dispute resolution process allows on-site experts who visit the job site regularly and are advised regarding the project's progress to recommend settlements quickly, before adversarial positions can grow and harden.

Fact-finding is a process by which parties present the arguments and evidence to a neutral person who then issues a nonbinding report on the findings, usually recommending a basis for settlement.

Hearing is a proceeding in which evidence is taken for the purpose of determining the facts of a dispute and reaching a decision based on evidence.

Mediation is a process in which a neutral assists the parties in reaching their own settlement but does not have the authority to make a binding decision.

Mediation-arbitration (med-arb) employs a neutral selected to serve as both mediator and arbitrator in a dispute. It combines the voluntary techniques of persuasion, as in mediation, with an arbitrator's authority to issue a final and binding decision, when necessary.

Mini-trial is a confidential, nonbonding exchange of information, intended to facilitate settlement. The goal of mini-trial is to encourage prompt, cost-effective resolution of complex litigation. Mini-trial seeks to narrow the areas of controversy, dispose of collateral issues, and encourage a fair and equitable settlement.

Negotiation is a process in which disputants communicate their differences to one another through conference, discussion, and compromise in an attempt to resolve them.
Parties are the disputants.

Partnering a process used in the construction industry that brings together all parties owners, architects, contractors, subcontractors, engineers, and project managers before the commencement of the project, with the goal of avoiding disputes once the work gets underway.

Respondents are responding parties, also known as defendants.

Submission is filing of a dispute to a dispute resolution process after it arises.

Litman Law Firm One Oxford Center 34th Floor Pittsburgh PA 15219-1407
T: 412-456-2000 800-LITMANS F: 412-456-2020