A mini-trial (also known as an executive tribunal), is a form of alternative dispute resolution in which each party, often through legal advisers, makes a presentation of its case to a mini-trial panel. An abbreviated version of the discovery process may have taken place in advance of the mini-trial.
The panel generally consists of three members – a management executive from each party (with sufficient authority to reach a settlement), and a neutral third party who may act as a mediator or adviser. The executive members will normally not have been involved in the particular dispute.
After the submissions have been made, the executives seek to negotiate a settlement. The role of the neutral third party may vary. They may act as a mediator or may as an adviser, assessing objectively both the facts and the merits of the case and advising on the most appropriate solution.
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