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Last Updated: 01/12/17 05:25 AM
WHAT IS ARBITRATION?
Arbitration is a process where a neutral third party (the arbitrator) decides how the parties should resolve their dispute after a hearing at which each side presents its "case".
The presentation of each sides' case can include introduction of contracts, other agreements, other evidence, presentation of facts of law and testimony of witnesses. Often the parties are represented by attorneys. Generally both sides have the opportunity to cross-exam the other sides' witnesses.
The format of the arbitration is that each side generally will present an opening statement, their case in chief, sometimes a rebuttal case and closing arguments which summarize what they believe the arbitrator has heard and what they believe is most important to the facilitation a fair decision by the arbitrator.
After the arbitration presentations are complete, the arbitrator renders a ruling or decision which is generally enforceable in civil court. The decision may be rendered immediately after the arbitration is finished or the arbitrator may take some time (usually less than a week) to render the decision.
The arbitration process is similar to a court trial with the exception that the arbitrator is agreed to by both parties and is paid a fee (usually based upon an hour rate with a minimum). Typically each side pays the arbitrator one half the total arbitration fee. Occasionally, the fee will be paid by the party who loses the arbitration.
Arbitration may be binding or non-binding depending on the agreement of the parties or as stipulated by prior agreement (as in a contract). Non-binding arbitration permits the parties to seek redress in other forums including civil court. Binding arbitration generally prohibits either party from seeking changes in the arbitrator's ruling or decision in other forum such a civil court.
In either circumstance (binding or non-binding arbitration), the parties generally can seek enforcement through the civil court process.
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