Arbitration can be used to resolve almost any type of dispute, whether its involving business, employment claims, or tort claims, even claims focused on consumer or civil rights. If both parties want a neutral third party to solve the dispute, but don’t want to go through the process of litigation in court, arbitration is usually the best way to handle it.
When parties in conflict agree to arbitration, the arbitrator, who is an independent and impartial third party, is given the power to make decisions regarding the conflicting parties’ disputes. Whatever is determined can be either legally binding, or legally non-binding, depending on how the parties set up the terms of the arbitration agreement. If it is determined that the arbitrator’s decision will be legally binding, a court will back up the arbitration agreement.
Arbitration is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and is one way to avoid litigation (bringing a case to court). Arbitration differs from mediation in that mediators are a neutral third-party that works with the parties to obtain a settlement. If the parties cannot come to an agreement, the mediator (or mediators) cannot force one. In arbitration, however, the disputing parties empower the neutral third party (the arbitrator) to come to a legally binding decision that may be upheld by the court. The arbitrator, then, is like a judge.
Arbitration is a favored method of solving business and consumer-related disputes, but can be used for just about anything. So yes, arbitration is a good idea for just about any case, as long as you agree to allow a neutral third party to hear your side and make a decision that’s legally binding. This kind of Alternative Dispute Resolution often costs far less than litigation, and still keeps everyone on equal footing to allow their side to be heard and considered.