What Is Arbitration?October 24, 2017
Arbitration is a private process of resolving disputes outside of a courtroom (i.e., an alternative dispute resolution process). Overseen by an independent third party, known as an arbitrator, arbitration can be pursued when both parties involved in a dispute agree to arbitrate it, rather than pursue litigation. The agreement to arbitrate a dispute can be made before or after the legal dispute arises.
While arbitration may be used to resolve various types of legal disputes, it is commonly and increasingly used to resolve contract and employment disputes.
At the Amaro Law Firm, we are experienced at representing clients in any legal setting, including in arbitration and litigation. Dedicated to advancing our clients’ interests in the pursuit of justice, we can help you successfully navigate the dispute resolution process so you can achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
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A Closer Look at the Arbitration Process
When disputing parties have agreed to arbitrate their dispute, the arbitration generally proceeds as follows:
- A complaining party will notify the opposing party of the intent to arbitrate the dispute. This notification will usually outline the detail(s) and/or issues of the dispute.
- The opposing party will have an opportunity to respond to the notification.
- One or more arbitrators will be selected to preside over the dispute. While an existing contract may dictate how the arbitrator(s) should be chosen, typically, both parties will have some type of input regarding this selection.
- Both parties will then present their allegations and the remedies they are seeking
- Both parties will conduct discovery (the evidence and fact-finding process).
- Both parties will provide written evidence to the arbitrator(s) for review and consideration.
- A hearing will occur. During this hearing, both parties will have the opportunity to present their arguments, evidence, and/or witnesses to the arbitrator(s).
- After reviewing all presented evidence and allegations, the arbitrator(s) will issue a legally binding decision.
It is important to note that arbitration is different from mediation. While both are alternative dispute resolution processes, arbitration is usually legally binding, and mediation usually is not.
This means that, once a dispute is resolved via arbitration, the parties cannot try to go back to court afterward to seek a different decision. With mediation, however, the parties may have the option to bring the same dispute before a court at some point in the future.
Benefits of Arbitration
When compared to trial, arbitration can offer a number of advantages, including (but not necessarily limited to):
- Giving parties control to choose the person presiding over their case – Parties involved in arbitration may be able to select the arbitrator(s) who will preside over their dispute. In contrast, parties going to trial will not be able to select the judge who hears their case.
- Allowing for faster resolutions – Arbitration typically takes place sooner than a trial because parties will not be bound to (or restricted by) the court’s busy schedule. Additionally, arbitration is often shorter in length than a trial, and the rulings in arbitration are not subject to appeal. This effectively means that the case will be completely resolved by the final determination of the arbitrator (as opposed to litigation that may be subject to a series of appeals and additional proceedings, prolonging a case).
- Being more cost-effective – Because arbitration can proceed sooner and more quickly than litigation, it can save the involved parties money in resolving their dispute.
- Keeping the proceedings private– Details of arbitration are not part of public record (while litigation proceedings are part of public record). This can be particularly appealing when sensitive issues may be associated with a case and/or the involved parties would like to keep the details off the public record.
While arbitration may not be the best or only option for every case, it can clearly provide some major benefits in certain situations. The Amaro Law Firm can explain whether arbitration is an option in your case and, if so, effectively represent you in arbitration (or any proceeding necessary to resolve your legal dispute).
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