Courtroom battles can be lengthy and subject a business to lots of undesired publicity. Over the years, many businesses and individuals have decided to resolve their legal disputes using alternative dispute resolution ("ADR") methods such as mediation or arbitration. These methods are much quicker, private, and at times less costly than traditional litigation. In fact, if you were to review many of the contracts that you have entered into over the years, you would discover many businesses require disputes to be resolved using some method of ADR - typically arbitration. This post will cover the basics of arbitration and the impact of choosing arbitration over traditional litigation. For a discussion of mediation, please see our post, “The 411 on Mediation”.
What is arbitration?
Arbitration is an ADR method in which a neutral person, or a group of persons, selected by the parties renders a decision to settle a dispute after hearing each party’s side of the case and reviewing the evidence.
How does arbitration work?
What is the arbitrator's role?
The arbitrator is essentially the judge for the arbitration. However, unlike traditional litigation where the parties have little to no choice over which judge they get, the parties usually select the arbitrator. The arbitrator will preside over the proceedings, make rulings on briefs, resolve discovery disputes, settle evidentiary issues, evaluate the evidence presented, and then make a decision. You can choose whether the arbitrator issues a basic standard award, announcing only the outcome of the case, a reasoned award, explaining the arbitrator's reasoning behind the decision in addition to the decision itself, or a detailed award that includes findings of fact and conclusions of law in addition to the decision.
Who can serve as an arbitrator?
Anyone can serve as an arbitrator provided they have the requisite training or certification required by his or her respective state, country, or industry association. Typically, arbitrators are former judges, lawyers, or a professional with particular knowledge of the facts involved in the case.
What are the benefits of arbitration?
What are the risks of arbitration?
Arbitration vs. Mediation
The goal of arbitration is for a third party to reach a decision for the parties involved in a case, while the goal of mediation is for the parties to resolve the case themselves. In arbitration, the decision is made entirely by the arbitrator. On the other hand, in mediation the mediator hears each party’s side of the case and then assists the parties in negotiating with the hopes that the parties can reach a settlement. It is possible that parties will participate in a mediation, fail to reach a resolution, and then engage in arbitration regarding the same dispute.
Deciding whether to litigate, mediate, or arbitrate can be difficult. There are benefits and risks with all three. If you would like to discuss your legal matter and the various avenues available for resolution, or you are looking for an experienced neutral to serve as either an arbitrator or mediator for your case, please do not hesitate to contact Simmons Rogers, LLC at 404-445-8260 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Simmons Rogers, LLC
Simmons Rogers, LLC is a full service civil law firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. We provide legal services as well as mediation and arbitration services, to businesses and individuals throughout the state of Georgia and beyond.
This blog is not intended to be a complete explanation of the law. Its purpose is to inform, not to advise on any specific legal problem or legal rights. If you have specific questions regarding any topic in this blog, you are encouraged to consult the Atlanta based law firm of Simmons Rogers, LLC or an attorney licensed in your