Judicial determination is where parties, and their legal representation, present arguments to an impartial third party – a judge or magistrate – who then imposes a legally binding decision. The process is significantly more formal than mediation, conciliation, and even arbitration.
The judge treats each party equally, and uses strict rules of evidence and procedure. This may help to ensure that a just outcome occurs, particularly when there is a power imbalance between the two parties. Also, uniquely, appeals are possible when a party feels that the outcome was unjust.
Judicial determination is a lengthy and costly process, which may hinder chances at a just outcome.
Judicial determination is also adversarial in nature, meaning that one party will ‘win’ and the other will ‘lose’. Therefore, it may be inappropriate for cases where parties need to maintain a positive relationship.
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