Arbitration is a way to end disputes. Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution, and is used as an alternative to a trial. In arbitration, the parties with a conflict select a neutral third party, called an arbitrator. The arbitrator will hold a hearing, at which both sides can present evidence and testimony. After the hearing, the arbitrator will make a decision. In most cases, the arbitrator’s decision is final, although arbitration can be either binding or non-binding. In non-binding arbitration, either side can reject the arbitrator’s award, and then the case would proceed to a trial. The arbitrator’s decision is typically not allowed to be mentioned at the trial.
In some cases, arbitration is required, primarily when contracts between the parties provide that any dispute will be resolved through arbitration. Arbitrators do not have to follow legal precedents, as judges do. They also don’t have to explain the reasoning behind the decision. Arbitration can be performed by one arbitrator or by a panel of several arbitrators.
Arbitration can offer some big advantages over a courtroom proceeding. First, arbitrations are usually faster than litigation. Court dockets are overflowing in many areas of the country now, and arbitration can usually be scheduled fairly quickly. Arbitration can be cheaper in many cases than a lawsuit. If the dispute is of a highly technical or scientific type, arbitrators with expertise in that area can be chosen. Arbitration proceedings are usually private rather than public, such as a trial. Arbitrations usually cannot be appealed, which can offer advantages and disadvantages to the parties. In addition, arbitration is becoming more popular in international disputes because it is often difficult to enforce a judgment of a foreign court. It can be easier to enforce an arbitration award in another country.
Arbitrators in many areas can award a variety of remedies. They include ordering one party to pay a sum of money, ordering a party to do or not to do something, making a declaration as to a matter determined in the arbitration, ordering performance of a contract, and ordering a contract to be set aside.
Some types of cases can not be arbitrated. Most matters that involve family law, immigration law or criminal law cannot be arbitrated, because the parties cannot enter into an agreement on those matters without restriction. Also, in some cases parties cannot arbitrate because there are rules prohibiting it – usually when a weaker member of the public is involved.
If you feel arbitration may be an avenue worth considering for your legal dispute, contact our knowledgeable law firm today.