If you are considering arbitration regarding a property or financial dispute, here are several tips that will help you.
- Arbitration is not a professionally accredited field. Any one can call himself an arbitrator if he chooses. So it is important to check the credentials of any arbitrator you may be interested in naming. Because arbitration is governed by both federal and provincial legislation, it is important that the arbitrator be accredited. Accredited arbitrators generally hold memberships in recognized dispute resolution associations and will be accredited as ‘qualified’ or ‘chartered arbitrators’.
- One of the factors you need to consider is conflicts of interest. The parties to a dispute are not permitted to appoint arbitrators who have ‘red flag’ conflicts. These are serious and obvious conflicts that would make it impossible for an arbitrator to at fairly, neutrally, and without bias. Lesser conflicts of interest must be brought to the attention of the parties, and discussed, and can be waived [i.e. excused].
- It is less expensive especially if the dollar value of the dispute is low to name one single arbitrator. If this is not possible, each side may appoint one arbitrator, and the two who are named appoint a third arbitrator. Usually the panel has no more than three arbitrators.
- One of the keys to efficient arbitration lies in the parties insistence that arbitration not imitate a court room trial. If the lawyers want to follow standard courtroom procedures, the arbitration will take much more time and cost everyone much more in fees and out of pocket expenses. Remember each party has to pay his own legal expenses and a proportionate share of the arbitrators costs.
- Having this this discussion with your lawyer at the outset will immediately set the boundaries and prevent the process from getting out of hand. Arbitration should be more time efficient and less expensive than a court room trial.