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What is arbitration?

Savvy business owners understand that avoiding litigation is a top priority of successful businesses. Not only is litigation extremely expensive and time-consuming, it can also cost you valuable business relationships.

One popular method of alternative dispute resolution is arbitration. According to FindLaw, arbitration is often cheaper and faster than litigation, and you can arbitrate any dispute if both parties agree to the process.

How does the process work?

Arbitration can take a number of forms, depending on the nature of the dispute and the needs of the parties. The flexibility of arbitration is one of its benefits over the standardized legal process. Usually the parties will choose an arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators to hear the “case.” Another advantage of arbitration is that the parties can choose experts in their particular field to serve as arbitrators if topical knowledge of the dispute is beneficial. This is in comparison to a judge, who is a legal expert but not necessarily an expert on your business.

After the arbitrators listen to both sides, they will then issue a decision. Most arbitration processes are binding. This means that they hold legal weight and may be very difficult to overturn. In some instances, overturning the decision of arbitrators is more difficult than overturning the decision of a judge.

When can I arbitrate?

You can arbitrate nearly any dispute. However, both parties must agree to arbitrate. One party wishing to arbitrate does not take away the right of the other party to bring the dispute to court if they wish to do so.

However, due to arbitration’s many inherent benefits, it is usually not difficult to get both parties to agree to arbitration in business disputes.

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