Arbitration is an alternative to litigation or mediation in order to resolve a dispute. Arbitration panels are composed of one or three arbitrators who are selected by the parties. They read the pleadings filed by the parties, listen to the arguments, study the documentary and/or testimonial evidence, and render a decision. The panel’s decision, called an “award,” is final and binding on all the parties. All parties must abide by the award, unless it is successfully challenged in court within the statutory time period. Arbitration is generally confidential, and documents submitted in arbitration are not publicly-available, unlike court-related filings.
What Kinds of Cases are Eligible for Arbitration
- Disputes between investors and brokers, between investors and brokerage firms, and between investors and brokers and brokerage firms; and
- For disputes involving industry parties only, between brokerage firms, between brokers, and between or among brokerage firms and brokers; and
Time: Arbitration is a less formal process than litigation, typically resulting in faster turnaround times than court cases. The turnaround time for arbitration varies, and can be affected by many factors, including the number of parties and witnesses involved, the complexity of the issues, the volume of discovery and the schedules of the parties and arbitrators.
How does the Arbitration Process Work
An arbitration should not only result in an appropriate Judgment, but a good quality arbitration should also help provide clarity, closure, and education of the essential aspects of the dispute at hand, which bring the participants to understanding.
- File a Claim
A claimant initiates an arbitration by filing a statement of claim that specifies the relevant facts and remedies requested. The Statement of Claim includes a description of the dispute, the parties involved and the amount of money sought. This is the first chance for a party to explain clearly the events pertaining to the dispute in chronological order. It is important to provide any documents mentioned in the statement that support the claim.
- Answer a Claim
A respondent responds to an arbitration claim by filing an answer that specifies the relevant facts and available defenses to the statement of claim.
- Arbitrator Selection
Arbitrator selection is the process in which the parties receive lists of potential arbitrators and select the panel to hear their case.
- Prehearing Conferences
Prior to the hearing, the arbitrators and parties meet telephonically to schedule hearing dates and resolve preliminary issues.
Discovery is the exchange of documents and information in preparation for the hearing.
The parties and arbitrators meet in person to conduct the hearing in which the parties present arguments and evidence in support of their respective cases.
- Decision & Awards
After the conclusion of the hearing, the arbitrators deliberate the facts of the case and render a written decision called an award.
What Makes a Successful Arbitration?
The keys to a successful arbitration involve choosing an Arbitrator who
- Has extensive expertise and understanding of the subject matter,
- Knows how to apply that knowledge within the fact pattern of the dispute,
- Is an effective, respectful communicator, and
- Is able to assume a neutral viewpoint in the decision-making process.