Arbitration is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) whereby the interested parties refer their issue to an arbitrator—usually just one but sometimes a tribunal—who will review the evidence and listen to each party’s case in a relatively informal hearing, and then make a decision regarding the dispute.
As with all forms of ADR, arbitration is a means of resolving a dispute outside of the courtroom and a means of avoiding litigation when possible. Most arbitration occurs as a result of a pre-established clause in a contract between the two parties that requires them to utilize arbitration, though sometimes the opposing parties may simply believe that arbitration is in both of their best interests and mutually agree to pursue this remedy.
There are a number of significant benefits inherent in the use of arbitration to resolve your business disputes, and in this blog we have detailed three of the most important.
Timeliness = Cost-Effectiveness
Litigation is a notoriously long and drawn out process. Court dockets are almost always loaded with cases, and scheduling hearings in court can be a nightmare. Additionally, there are formal procedural elements to litigation regarding things like discovery that only serve to lengthen the process even more. Arbitration is a much more efficient process, and according to statistics from the American Arbitration Association, arbitration can take one-fifth as long as litigation. The speed of arbitration also can lead to a much more cost-effective process when compared to litigation. Simply put, the shorter the case lasts, the less money you will have to pay.
Customizable and Flexible
While there are set rules regarding how arbitration should be carried out, the process is oftentimes very customizable, meaning the disputing parties can agree on various aspects of how the arbitration will proceed ahead of time. This is particularly true when the custom rules are written into an arbitration clause of a contractor before any sort of dispute has arisen. For example, customization could mean setting guidelines with regard to who can serve as an arbitrator on the case or setting limits to the amount of time that can be taken to resolve the dispute. There is also more flexibility in arbitration than in litigation in that the parties can schedule hearings in a manner that suits their needs and goals, rather than being forced to show up in court whenever they are able to set a hearing date on the crowded docket.
Court cases are almost always a matter of public record. Just about anyone who wants to view the most intimate details of your dispute can find them. As you can imagine, this can be incredibly harmful for your company’s reputation as well as the potential for maintaining a positive relationship with the opposing party in your dispute, such as when the dispute is between business partners. Arbitration is a confidential process that will allow you to work with the opposing party to reach an equitable resolution while keeping the details of your case out of the public eye.
While arbitration may not be perfect for everyone, it entails a wealth of benefits that make it an incredibly enticing option for any business that is faced with a dispute. The above three benefits are by no means an all-inclusive list, and please keep in mind that this blog is not intended as legal advice for your specific situation. To learn more about arbitration, discuss the unique circumstances of your dispute, and to see whether arbitration could be right for your company, please contact The Campbell Law Group today.