"Mediation is where both parties hire a third person," Robinson says. "In Arkansas, certified mediators are folks that have gone through classes and training so that they can mediate claims. By mediation, what we mean is they're going to hear both sides of the claim, and try to negotiate or facilitate a settlement. They do a great job of trying to bring both parties together so that they can resolve their dispute, whether it's a divorce case, a personal injury case, a contract case. They want to get in there and go ahead and try and resolve that dispute prior to that case going to the entire process of litigation, which means going to a jury trial. Mediators are there to help both parties reach a settlement agreement. It is not binding unless the parties agree to it or it is binding arbitration. But the mediator is there to facilitate and tell each party their strengths, their weaknesses and to try to come to a middle ground so that the case is resolved without litigation. Courts can order mediation and force the parties to go to mediation prior to litigation."
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