Effective Dispute resolution Strategies

Table of Contents

Pros and Cons

Before deciding to involve the state records ombudsman in mediation, consider the advantages and disadvantages of mediation in light of the specific issue and desired outcome.

Advantages of Mediation

  1. Saves time and money.
    Appeals to the State Records Committee or other board require the preparation and submission of arguments to be presented at the hearing. When an appeal is filed and a hearing scheduled, it may take up to 52 days for the hearing to occur. If a hearing results in an order to provide records, the governmental entity has another 30 days to do so. Successful mediation may possibly expedite a resolution.
  2. Possible win/win resolutions.
    In order for mediation to be successful conflicting parties must come to a mutually satisfactory resolution. Possibilities are much broader than a simple determination in favor of one side or the other. Mediation provides the opportunity to communicate and understand the opposite point of view. It enables parties to explore the possibilities for resolving conflict.
  3. Partial resolution and clarification of unresolved issues to be appealed or litigated.
    It may be that parties agree on some points but are still not able to reach a full resolution. In these cases, mediation is still successful to the extent that it clarifies unresolved points and supports the subsequent appeal or litigation.

Disadvantages of Mediation

  1. Playing one’s hand.
    During mediation the opposing party may obtain information or insight that can be used to support their position in a later appeal or litigation. When parties are concerned about this, or if a party takes a position that leaves no room for compromise, then moving forward with litigation or an appeal may be the best strategy.
  2. Lack of legal decision.
    Resolution through mediation does not yield a legal decision. Judgments and State Records Committee decisions are valuable, because they help interpret the law. Sometimes one or both parties desire an external decision which is a directive and an interpretation of the law.

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Page Last Updated February 14, 2017 .