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In a negotiation law students act as solicitors representing their client's interests in a dispute. Each team (consisting of two law students as solicitors) is given instructions by their clients, as well as facts relevant to their side of the dispute. The purpose is not necessarily settlement of the dispute. Solicitors discuss the legal issues and determine whether any proposed agreement between the parties is suitable to their client's needs.
Related to, but different from ‘negotiation’, is ‘mediation’ and ‘arbitration’.
A mediation is an arranged meeting of parties to a dispute, with a mediator. The mediator is an independent, impartial and trained third party whose role is to facilitate discussion between the parties, and assist the parties in reaching a resolution to their dispute by defining the issues, and exploring possible avenues of settlement.
Arbitration is a more formal proceeding than mediation, and usually less formal than a court hearing. An arbitrator is an independent third party who is given the authority to make a binding decision as to the dispute in issue before the tribunal. An arbitral hearing is adversarial and parties to the arbitration may be represented by legal counsel.