When facing a problem that needs to be resolved, you may be considering using arbitration instead of going through the court system for a number of reasons. In many cases, the contract between two parties stipulates that arbitration is required. In some jurisdictions, the court can require you to go through some form of alternative dispute resolution such as mediation or non-binding arbitration before bringing your case to trial. Alternatively, you may simply be considering arbitration because it presents some other advantage to you.
- Privacy: Unless a judge decides to seal a record or forbids media in the courtroom, the court process is open to the public and the filings are accessible in the clerk of court’s office. Many disputes contain issues that are more sensitive and they do not want the public scrutiny possible with litigation. Arbitration offers them a chance for off-the-record dispute resolution.The resolution can still be binding on both parties as the arbitrator submits his resolution to the court, who signs off on it.
- Timeline: Litigation can take a long time as the discovery and motions process can go back and forth for months, even on the smallest cases. Depending on how backed up the court system is, it can take the court months before they can schedule motions hearing and conduct the trial. Arbitration, by contrast, happens on a much quicker timeline by choosing a third party who is available when needed.
- Costs: While arbitration requires paying a fee to the arbitrator and any attorney’s fees and costs to prepare for the arbitration, it’s can be much cheaper than the cost of going through court. In part, this is because of the expedited timeline and in part because arbitration involves less motions and pre-hearing back-and-forth.
- Evidence: In arbitration, the arbitrator decides what evidence comes in and my not be bound by the rules of evidence the way a judge would be.
- Expert Arbitrators: Many disputes between businesses center on complicated or unique issues that may require an expert to understand. While judges are experts in the law, they might not be experts when it comes to understanding engineering, aeronautics, software, or another specialized field in which the disputes rest. Choosing arbitration could allow the dispute to be heard by someone who is not only an expert in the law, but also an expert in the field in question. Further, both parties get a say in deciding the person or people who will serve as the arbitrator, unlike in litigation where you are assigned a judge.
- Appeal: With some exceptions, the decision of the arbitrator is final and binding. This can give businesses much needed clarity and a chance to move forward instead of finding themselves in litigation with ongoing appeals at multiple stages in the process.
It helps to talk to the team from Dunn Law Firm when considering your particular situation. We can advise on whether including an arbitration clause in a contract, or signing a contract that contains one, is the right move for your business. We can also help represent you through both litigation and arbitration, working with you to reach the best possible outcome. To learn more, reach out to the Dunn Law Firm by calling (435) 628-5405 and set up a free consultation today.