Arbitration is a way to settle a legal dispute while avoiding going to trial. Rather than going to court and having a judge or jury decide the case, you might agree to allow a third-party decision maker, the arbitrator, to help determine the dispute’s outcome. People commonly use arbitration to resolve consumer disputes, family law matters, business disputes and labor disagreements.
If you find yourself in these circumstances, you might wonder whether arbitration is a suitable dispute resolution option.
The arbitration process
During the arbitration process, you and the opposing party present your sides of the legal disagreement. The neutral third-party arbitrator listens to the oral statements and reviews the documents and evidence provided. The arbitrator then issues a resolution or “award.” If they provide reasoning, this is a “reasoned” award; if they announce the decision without rationale, it is a “bare bones” award.
If the arbitration process is binding, then the arbitrator’s decision becomes final and only appealable on narrow grounds. If the award is non-binding, the arbitrator’s decision only becomes final if you and the other party accept the advice.
Advantages to arbitration
There are extensive benefits to using a good arbitrator. Firstly, the arbitration process is faster and more straightforward than traditional litigation. Arbitration also provides more confidentiality and privacy than a trial.
Both parties agree to the arbitrator used, resulting in a fair outcome compared to a legal trial in which you cannot control the judge or jury selection. Arbitration also involves more simplified, adaptable procedures for the two parties present. For example, in some cases, the arbitrator does not have to apply the governing law or follow the federal rules of evidence.
Using a good arbitrator is crucial in resolving your legal issue through alternative dispute resolution methods.