What is Arbitration?
Arbitration is an alternative form of dispute resolution. Instead of having a hearing before a judge or jury, parties can agree to have a hearing before an arbitrator to decide their case. An arbitrator’s decision is binding on the parties. There are many advantages to choosing arbitration over litigating a case through the court system.
Why Should I Choose Arbitration?
Arbitration is generally less expensive than litigating through the courts, because parties save on the cost of filing fees and court costs.
Arbitration also saves the parties time, because they are not at the mercy of the court concerning scheduling. The average contested court matter can last anywhere from 1 year to five years from start to finish. This does not generally include the appeals process. With arbitration, parties are much more flexible in choosing when they want their case to be heard. Although arbitration is a dispute resolution hearing, it is much less formal than an actual trial being held before a judge. Certain rules regarding procedure both in and outside of the courtroom do not apply in the arbitration setting, so parties feel more at ease about presenting their case. Although parties have a right to an attorney at arbitration, attorneys are not required.
Additionally, while court proceedings are free and open to the public, Arbitration proceedings are closed and strictly confidential. Unless directly associated with the matter or allowed in by the agreement of all parties involved, people are not allowed to attend the arbitration.
Last, and for some most importantly, parties get to choose who will be the arbitrator for their matter. This is invaluable, because you are not leaving who the decision maker will be up to chance. A party can select an arbitrator based on his/her experience, training, or sheer comfort level with them.
Arbitration fees can be split between the parties, so in the long run both parties see an added financial bonus in addition to the other benefits.
The Arbitration Process
STEP 1 Prior to Arbitration, parties contact our office to complete our intake forms and to discuss issues to be determined.
STEP 2 After determining which issues need to be arbitrated, parties confer with the arbitrator to determine scheduling, rules and procedures to be applied to the arbitration setting, and any additional preliminary matters .
STEP 3 On the day of the arbitration, parties appear and a hearing is held in which each side presents evidence in the form of testimony, exhibits, and affidavits. Each side can ask questions of witnesses if they choose, but are not required to do so.
STEP 4 After all evidence has been presented. Each party makes a closing argument as to why they should prevail.
STEP 5 The arbitrator makes a decision in writing to be shared with each party.