Arbitration provides a private process for parties who require a decision involving their rights that avoids the time and expense of lawsuits.
Where the parties relationship needs to continue and litigation is an obstacle to early resolution and to continuation of that relationship, arbitration provides the basis for earlier and less procedurally complex resolution.
Because arbitration requires agreement to arbitrate, the process is contractual. Arbitration agreements can be amended at any time and the parties can choose to proceed to a hearing without being bound by the Rules of Civil Procedure that govern lawsuits in our courts.
Parties are free to select their own arbitrators based on their knowledge and experience of the subject matter of the dispute. Parties do not have the right to choose their judges when they go to court. Judges may not be familiar with the subject matter of a dispute and may depend on legal counsel to assist them at trial.
Arbitrations do not always require formal hearings. For example, arbitrations that need a decision to be made about the fair market value of property may not require experts to appear at a hearing. Provided that the parties agree, the arbitrator can decide property values based on the parties filing of expert valuation reports. These kinds of ‘no hearing’ arbitrations are common, and can be decided more quickly and less expensively.
Where formal arbitration hearings are necessary, the parties with the participation of the arbitrator may shorten the hearing process by eliminating procedures that are required in court.