Arbitration is a process whereby
One or more neutral and impartial expert third parties hear and consider the evidence and testimony provided by the disputants and issue a binding or non-binding decision.
In arbitration, the parties to a dispute agree to use privately selected decision maker(s) to resolve their case. Arbitration is most frequently accessed via a future disputes clause appearing in the parties’ contract, or parties may agree to the submission of an existing dispute. The parties may use standard arbitration roles promulgated by an organization which administers arbitration proceedings or elect to modify such standard rules. The key to successful use of the arbitration is designing a process which successfully meets the parties’ needs in terms of time, decision makers, discovery and rules.
Although arbitration is typically, though not necessarily, less formal than court proceedings, it is adversarial. Following the case presentation, the arbitrator(s) render a decision which may be legally binding on the parties and can be enforced by any court having jurisdiction. The decision can be non-binding and advisory if the parties agree in advance. If the decision is binding, it is not appealable; limited court review is available only for very specific circumstances set forth by statute.
Arbitration may provide numerous positive benefits to the parties. It is private and results in an opinion rendered by arbitrator(s) who have extensive experience and expertise in the area of the dispute. With arbitration, discovery and motions are limited by statute, but can be agreed upon as appropriate. Accelerated time deadlines may compel adversaries to confront the issues more quickly.
It should also be recognized that there are inherent risks in arbitration. Parties have a limited right to court review. Punitive damages are not available in arbitration controlled by current Colorado law. Absent agreement to the contrary, discovery is limited. With the exception of labor arbitration, arbitration decisions have little or no precedential value.
Arbitration, however, can be efficient and cost effective. It results in a speedy decision rendered by arbitrator(s) with specialized knowledge.
Our firm attempts to utilize Alternative Dispute Resolution in each case in which it would benefit the client. Additionally, Jim Arndt is a private mediator and acts as a neutral third party to resolve disputes out of court. Please give our office a call to assist you with your legal problems.
This is an excerpt from an article published by the Colorado Bar Association, 2002. https://www.cobar.org/index.cfm/ID/211/subID/1244/CAAD/Manual-on-Alternative-Dispute-Resolution/
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