Arbitration is one of the leading formats for the resolution of commercial disputes outside of the traditional court system. Indeed, arbitration has gained popularity precisely because it offers considerable advantages to a court-based judicial process.

Are you considering using arbitration rather than litigation for your dispute?

What kind of cases can arbitration be used for?

Arbitration cases tend to be focused on commercial disputes, including but not limited to:

  • Commercial contractual disputes
  • International trade disputes
  • Technical disputes requiring expert adjudication
  • Professional sport disputes
  • Employment law disputes
  • Disputes between employers and unions
  • Consumer disputes

Arbitration is a private method of dispute resolution, where an impartial, professional third party organisation or individual is asked to arbitrate in a dispute.

Both parties must agree in advance to use arbitration as an alternative to court, and must agree the arbitration system that they will use. If one party does not agree to the arbitration, then the process cannot begin.

How does it work?

Arbitration cases are heard in private by an arbitrator, in a format that resembles a court hearing. Both parties are represented by their commercial lawyers, and they both make their representations to the arbitrator. Arbitration cases differ to court cases because the arbitrator, rather than the lawyers, asks all the questions.

Arbitration is preferred by businesses because it offers a confidential and speedy way to settle disputes. For large companies, avoiding public litigation that will end up in the media can be a huge advantage, and can prevent any serious damage being done to the company’s reputation.

Arbitrators are often specialists in the particular type of dispute being brought before them, resulting in a higher quality of understanding and judgment in each case.

As arbitration cases are not hindered by the formalities, rules and timetables of a traditional court:

  • Cases can be heard faster
  • As a result, it can prove cheaper than a court case

Arbitration is also preferred because it offers a transnational forum for dispute resolution, avoiding the need for contracting parties to select a legal jurisdiction for any potential legal dispute.

Although arbitration cases are not heard in a court, most parties to arbitration still receive legal advice and many will retain legal representation by a solicitor for the hearing itself. This is because the decisions in arbitration cases have the same legal effect as a decision of a court, and are legally binding.

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