Arbitration is a decisive process for resolving disputes between two parties, as the arbitrator – usually a retired judge or lawyer – makes a final and binding decision at the end of the hearing. This decision is subject to limited judicial review. It is an out-of-court method that offers certain advantages, such as the ability to choose the place, time, rules, law, and people who will make the decision on the dispute. The arbitration process is often shorter and faster than litigation and trial, as private discovery is limited and the procedural rules are simplified.
Moreover, most arbitral decisions are final and binding, without appeal. When two companies contract to engage in commerce and the contract includes an arbitration agreement, they must use arbitration instead of the court system to resolve disputes. Company B files a claim and initiates the arbitration process, an arbitrator is selected and both parties exchange information during the discovery process. Binding arbitration agreements are found in many employee and consumer contracts and require parties to use arbitration as an alternative to the court system to resolve disputes. The Federal Arbitration Act enforces the arbitration process and prohibits parties from appealing decisions to the courts. The arbitrator must inform the parties if there are reasons to believe that he will be biased.
Generally, an arbitrator will only be considered impartial if he has or has had a relationship with one of the parties. Once the arbitrator is selected, the parties will work with him to set a date to “hear” their case.