In an Arbitration, the disputing parties must agree that their dispute needs assistance from a third-party to reach a solution to their dispute. The parties enlist the services of an arbitrator (third party).
This legal concept has existed for almost a century. Arbitration functions as a private process. The arbitration process is similar to a courtroom trial but it’s a less formal process. Arbitration is unlike mediation. That’s because a mediator can't dictate a lasting, binding decision. But a neutral arbitrator has the authority to provide an award that resolves a dispute.
The arbitration process usually takes less time than a traditional US trial. Arbitration hearings usually last between a few days to a week. Many people prefer arbitration over court litigation. That’s because arbitration is usually cheaper and faster.
There is always one main goal when it comes to arbitration in law. And that is to gain a fair resolution that solves a disputed problem.
Single Arbitrator or an Arbitration Panel
Parties can decide on a single arbitrator if all parties are in agreement on a single person. Or parties can decide on a three-person arbitration panel. In a panel each party will select one arbitrator, then, the two parties together will agree on a presiding arbitrator.
The arbitration panel, or a single arbitrator, meets with the parties and asks each party to make an opening statement describing their perspective of the case and what they are looking for regarding a settlement.
Presentation of Evidence
During the arbitration, the panel will ask each party to present any evidence they have supporting their position . Each party will be asked questions by the arbitrators to clarify or expand issues as needed.
Deliberation & Award
The panel will conclude the arbitration hearing and begin to deliberate the case. After reaching a conclusion, the arbitration panel will issue a written decision and award, which is usually enforceable under both state and federal law. The panel will usually issue their decision within four weeks of the last hearing.