Arbitration is a legal proceeding, more informal than a trial setting, during which both sides in a dispute offer their testimony and evidence to a neutral party, called the arbitrator. This “referee” is often a retired judge or an attorney of long experience. After a hearing of both sides, the arbitrator decides upon an award, a certain amount of money, to be given to one of the two parties.
Simply put, you should consider arbitration because arbitration saves time, emotions and money. Arbitration is best for cases where the parties want another person to decide the outcome of their dispute, but would like to avoid the formality, time, and expense of a trial. It may also be appropriate for complex matters where the parties want a decision-maker who has training or experience in the subject matter of the dispute.
A mediator normally has no authority to render a decision. It’s up to the parties themselves — with the mediator’s help — to work informally toward their own agreement. An arbitrator, on the other hand, conducts a contested hearing between the parties and then, acting as a judge, rends a legally binding decision. Arbitration resembles a court proceeding: Each side calls witnesses, presents evidence and makes arguments. Although arbitration has traditionally been used to resolve labor and commercial disputes, it is growing in popularity as a quicker and less expensive alternative to going to court.
It is the duty of the arbitrators to appoint a time and place for hearing the parties and making their award. In doing so, the arbitrator will hear evidence from both parties including testimony from the parties and/or witnesses including expert witnesses and review of documents presented by the parties. Arbitrators render a decision in writing called an “award.” The arbitrator must disclose to the parties any conflict of interest or potential conflict that might affect his or her impartiality in the case.
Typical cases that go to arbitration such as auto accident claims are usually resolved after a half-day or, at most, a full day. Cases with multiple parties often last longer: Clients should add at least an hour to the arbitration time for each additional party.
Unless there is language in a contract or provided by State Statute as in the case of labor disputes, arbitration is voluntary. It proceeds provided both parties are in agreement.
This arbitration can be either “binding” or non-binding, depending on what kind of arbitration it is. In the case of personal injury claims, there are generally two types of arbitration. The first is not binding. In this type of arbitration, either side can reject the arbitrator’s award. If this rejection occurs, the matter proceeds to jury trial where no reference can be made to the arbitrator’s award. In the case of binding arbitration, the award is final. The arbitrator’s award is usually paid very quickly after it is rendered. Other kinds of disputes can also be settled through arbitration, if the parties involved so agree.
The total cost for both parties from beginning to end for an arbitrated case, can be less than one retainer made by one party in a litigated case. A good range for the total cost of an arbitrated matter is between $2,000 to $5,500, depending on the time the arbitrator spends on preparing and presiding over the hearing and rendering a decision.
The most important reason to choose this arbitration firm is because of our personal arbitration skill and our commitment to integrity of arbitration processes and results, and because of our undivided emphasis on peaceful resolution of conflict outside of court. This is an arbitration firm, not a law firm that practices arbitration as a side business.
The arbitrators of CT Mediation & Arbitration Services all believe passionately in alternative conflict resolution and strive to practice the principles of nonviolence in our personal and professional lives.
We believe strongly in the benefits of arbitration to resolve your conflict and strive to remain educated and up-to-date on the newest techniques, news, and advancements in this area of the law.