Arbitration and Mediation

Arbitration, in the context of law, is a form of alternative
dispute resolution — specifically, a legal alternative to
litigation whereby the parties to a dispute agree to submit their respective
positions (through agreement or hearing) to a neutral third party (the arbitrator
(s) or arbiter(s)) for resolution.

Arbitration may also serve a distinct purpose: as an
alternative to strikes and lockouts as a means of resolving
labor disputes. Labor arbitration comes in two varieties:
interest arbitration, which provides a method for resolving
disputes about the terms to be included in a new contract
when the parties are unable to agree, and grievance
arbitration', which provides a method for resolving disputes
over the interpretation and application of a collective
bargaining agreement.

Mediation

Mediation is a process of alternative dispute resolution in
which a neutral third party, the mediator, assists two or more
parties to help them negotiate an agreement, with concrete
effects, on a matter of common interest; lato sensu is any
activity in which an agreement on any matter is researched
by an impartial third party, usually a professional, in the
common interest of the parties involved.

Mediation applies to different fields, with some common
peculiar elements and some differences, for each of its
specialties. The main fields of mediation are commerce, legal
dispute and diplomacy, but forms of mediation can be found
in other fields as well. Mediation in marriage is technically
admitted in the category, although it follows its own peculiar
history since the times of ancient Greeks.

The activity in itself is indeed very ancient, presumably
started with Phoenician commerce (but its use is supposed in
Babylon, too), and developed in Greece (where the mediator
is called proxenetas - not in the sense of marriage mediator),
then in Roman civilization, where mediation is recognised in
Roman law starting from Justinian's Digest. In Rome the
mediator was called with a variety of names, including
internuncius, medium, intercessor, philantropus,
interpolator, conciliator, interlocutor, interpres, and finally
mediator. During the Middle Ages, mediation was considered
differently, sometimes forbidden, or its practice restricted to
centralized authorities. In some cultures, it was instead a
sacred figure, tributed a particular respect, partly coincident
with that of traditional wise men.
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