Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). It is a method for the resolution of disputes outside of the courts. It happens when parties to a dispute refer their case to arbitration by one or more persons (the “arbitrators”, “arbiters” or “arbitral tribunal”), and then agree to be bound by the arbitration decision (the “award”). A third party, i.e., the arbitrator, reviews the evidence in the case and issues a decision (just like that of a judge or jury) that is legally binding on both sides and is therefore enforceable in the courts.
According to FindLaw.com “Arbitration can be either voluntary or mandatory (although mandatory arbitration can only come from a statute or from a contract that is voluntarily entered into, where the parties agree to hold all existing or future disputes to arbitration, without necessarily knowing, specifically, what disputes will ever occur) and can be either binding or non-binding.
Arbitration is a proceeding in which a dispute is resolved by an impartial adjudicator whose decision the parties to the dispute have agreed, or legislation has decreed, will be final and binding. There are limited rights of review and appeal of arbitration awards.”
Read more here: http://adr.findlaw.com/arbitration/arbitration-overview.html
Selecting the Best Arbitrator
An Arbitrator should be able to manage the arbitration process, the evidence, counsel, and the parties involved in the Arbitration. Your Arbitrator should be able both to “run the room” during the hearing and provide a timely award that is not only well reasoned, but also “iron clad” to challenge – this is part of the criteria you will follow when interviewing and getting references on your prospective arbitrator.
Thoroughly investigate your arbitrator. Get the names of counsel who have worked with your prospective arbitrator and use the criteria suggested above when asking questions. Also find out if the arbitrator reads the pleadings (or legal papers)? Is he/she able to timely rule on motions? Does he/she control costs or simply acquiesce to parties’ demands for endless discovery? Does he/she flaunt their perceived power by pushing parties around? Does he/she issue an award within the time allotted?
Interview your arbitrator. “Ex parte” discussions with an arbitrator are generally not advised. However, courts have most times found that pre-appointment arbitrator interviews are alright, if they are generally limited to the subject matter areas of: Prior experience with parties or counsel; relationships that may be relevant; other matters that may be relevant; subject matter expertise; availability to hear and rule on a timely basis; impartiality; and capability of handling a complex matter. Conduct the interview via telephone or business and never in a social setting.
Parrish Law Firm, PLLC Personal Injury – Tort Law Attorney works with Northern Virginia residents who have been injured because of another party’s negligence and are looking for fair compensation. Contact us today for a free case consultation or call us at 703-906-4229.
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A representative of the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC researched and wrote this article with Mr. Parrish’s consent. If you have any questions regarding the legal implications of what you have just read, please send us your question by clicking here so we can have our attorney review it.