Arbitration, often called alternative dispute resolution is a means of settling a dispute between parties instead of one of the parties filing a civil lawsuit. Several benefits of arbitration are that it is often alot less expensive than filing suit and the matter is often resolved much sooner than going to court. Civil suits must find a slot on the court's calendar, depending on the jurisdiction this can be anywhere from six to eighteen months or longer. Note that arbitration is pertinent to civil suits only and is not applicable to criminal matters.
Both parties must agree to the arbitration process. The final decision of the arbiter is binding on the parties. In other words, if you agree to arbitration and then lose, you can not then file suit in court. This is one drawback to the process, no appeal is allowed.
Arbitration is a process of judging and settling of disputes by a person not acting as a an judge appointed by law, but by a person or a group of person jointly accepted by the parties in disputes as having the authority to examine the dispute and give judgement. The arbitrator appointed may have a legal background, but this is not an essential requirement for acting as an arbitrator. Such arbitration judgement, generally called awards, are limited to decision involving monetary matters and meeting of contractual, commercial and social obligations. Arbitrators are not expected to give punishments such as jail sentence.
The arbitration process can be absolutely free of any legal formal legal binding, but there are provisions in law of many countries that provide some legal backing to the process and judgement of arbitration.
The process of arbitration is employed to facilitate settlement of disputes without incurring the cost and time of formal legal process. Arbitration is now used by individuals, groups, companies and nations.
In a properly conducted arbitration the arbitrators ascertain the facts, and claims of different parties to the dispute by calling for information from them, which can be provided verbally or in writing. The arbitrators may also obtain and study any other information considered relevant. Unlike formal legal proceedings, the arbitrators play a major role on the kind of information to be collected, rather on rely just on what is presented by the contending parties.
Generally, arbitration process does not involve representation of a case by advocates or other legal professionals. However, it may be permitted in some cases depending upon nature of arbitration and decision of the arbitrators.