Resolving Land Disputes Using Arbitration and Mediation

Article Summary

  1. The good news is that there are other forms of resolving your dispute and, in this article, we will show you the pros and cons of arbitration vs. mediation to resolve your land dispute.
  2. Arbitration and mediation are forms of alternative dispute resolutions (ADR) and each can avoid much of the time, money, and hassle of traditional litigation.
  3. Mediation is a structured, interactive process where an impartial third party assists disputing parties in resolving disputes through the use of specialized communication and negotiation techniques.
  4. There are times when arbitration and mediation are not appropriate for land disputes.
  5. I understand the complex ramifications that arbitration and/or mediation can have when resolving a land dispute.

For many of us, we live in relative peace with our surrounding neighbors.  There might be occasional annoyances, but we can live with it because we love our home and love the neighborhood.  However, with millions of real estate valuations and transactions taking place each year, disagreements are bound to occur.  When a land dispute arises, relationships can be destroyed and the stress levels that are associated with the conflict can be downright unhealthy.  

Some of the most common types of land disputes include:

  • Land Title: Individuals litigating the ownership rights of a property
  • Land Boundary: Exact location of the ownership line that separates one parcel of land from another
  • Easements: One’s right to use the land of another
  • Riparian (water) or littoral boundaries.

For more information, please read What to Do in Case of a Land Dispute

Sometimes it may seem that litigation is the only answer in a land dispute, however, it is a lengthy and expensive proposition.  The good news is that there are other forms of resolving your dispute and, in this article, we will show you the pros and cons of arbitration vs. mediation to resolve your land dispute.

Arbitration and mediation are forms of alternative dispute resolutions (ADR) and each can avoid much of the time, money and hassle of traditional litigation.  Although they are considered alternative dispute resolutions, they are becoming more and more common in the resolution of commercial and non-commercial disputes between and among entities and/or individuals.

First, let’s give a brief definition of both processes.  For more information, please read Arbitration vs. Mediation: What You Need to Know.

Arbitration: 

Arbitration is a proceeding in which a dispute is resolved by an impartial adjudicator whose decision to the dispute the parties have agreed, or legislation has decreed, will be final and binding.  There are limited rights of review and appeal of arbitration awards.

Mediation:

Mediation is a structured, interactive process where an impartial third party assists disputing parties in resolving disputes through the use of specialized communication and negotiation techniques.  All parties are encouraged to actively participate in the process and the mediator assists the parties to negotiate a settlement.

Of the two, arbitration is more adversarial in nature and is closer to litigation than mediation.  Since a binding decision will be made, consider how it will affect your long-term relationship with your neighbor.  If both of you have intentions of not moving anytime soon, the outcome of arbitration could permanently damage your relationship with your neighbor for years, perhaps a lifetime.  Since mediation does not impose a solution onto the parties, the sides are encouraged to work out a solution they can live with and trust.  This can potentially salvage a relationship rather than crush it.

On the other hand, when a substantial property is in dispute, the relationship may never be repairable.  If you believe that the parties will never be fully in agreement, mediation may be a waste of time and money.  When you believe a party has acted unethically or made errors that caused you damage, arbitration might be the way to go.  It can be used to fairly resolve your issues and avoid undue expenses.

There are times when arbitration and mediation are not appropriate for land disputes.  If one of the parties is alleging criminal conduct, or the dispute involves very complex issues of legality and/or property rights, it would probably be best to utilize attorneys and go through the legal process of litigation.

Which process is right for you, arbitration or mediation?  The choice you make can have profound consequences for everyone involved. I understand the complex ramifications that arbitration and/or mediation can have when resolving a land dispute.  For over three decades, I have utilized my expertise and knowledge of land use issues to put my clients’ needs first and I will do the same for you.  Before you settle on arbitration or mediation, consider contacting me for sound legal advice you can use.

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