Arbitration is a method of alternative dispute resolution, which means that it gives the parties an opportunity to resolve their case outside of the courtroom. Before deciding to use this type of alternative dispute resolution, however, the parties should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of arbitration.
One unique characteristic of arbitration is that, in most cases, the arbitrator’s decision cannot be appealed. During the hearing, an arbitrator will hear testimony and review evidence submitted by the parties. After the hearing has concluded, the arbitrator will render a detailed written decision that is binding on the parties. Unless a legal mistake has been made, or some sort of misconduct occurred, the parties are stuck with this result. Therefore, arbitration is an excellent choice for parties who want a prompt resolution to their dispute, but it may not be advisable for those who want to maintain some control over the fate of their case.
Arbitration may be scheduled as soon as the parties agree. Depending on the nature of the case, the parties may have to wait for several months or a year or longer to have a trial date scheduled. Even after a trial has been scheduled, it may be postponed for a number of reasons, such as the unavailability of witnesses or inclement weather. Since the arbitrator issues a binding ruling on the parties after the hearing, arbitration offers the parties the benefits of a nonjury trial without as much expense and with less delays.