What is the Legal Definition of Arbitration?
Arbitration is the submission of a dispute to an unbiased third person designated by the parties to the controversy, who agree in advance to comply with the award—a decision to be issued after a hearing at which both parties have an opportunity to be heard.
Arbitration takes place out of court. It is a well-established and widely used San Diego Alternative Dispute Resolution to end disagreements, along with mediation and settlement conferences. The disputing parties select an impartial third party, known as an arbitrator. Both sides agree in advance to comply with the arbitrator’s award and then participate in a hearing at which both sides can present evidence and testimony.
Arbitration may be either “binding” or “nonbinding.” Binding arbitration means that the parties waive their right to a trial and agree to accept the arbitrator’s decision as final. Nonbinding arbitration means that the parties are free to request a trial if they do not accept the arbitrator’s decision.
How do I Prepare for Arbitration?
Even though arbitration is less formal than a court trial, you and your San Diego Civil Litigation Lawyer should be fully prepared to argue your position and to present documentary evidence and witnesses at the arbitration hearing.
Before the arbitration hearing you need to:
- Research all documentation related to the dispute.
- Organize your arguments.
- Identify and organize documentary evidence and testimony that supports the arguments.
- Re-examine your case for weaknesses, asking yourself these questions:
a. Did I do or not do something that might have contributed to the dispute?
b. What percent of the problem might an arbitrator possibly consider to be my fault? Ask your attorney to help you think through the issues one more time before the meeting.
c. Remove irrelevant issues and documents. Clean up the case and reduce it to the clear, clean and strong points.
- Arrive at the hearing ahead of time; well rested and nourished.
- Make sure you have complied with the California Rules of Court (CRC) 3.820 prohibiting ex parte communication with the arbitrator. (no private communication with the arbitrator)
What to Expect at the Arbitration Session
- The arbitrator will explain the process. You will be reminded that persuasive and forceful presentation is permitted but civility and mutual respect are vital.
- Each side may present an uninterrupted opening statement setting forth its position as to the facts and the law.
- After opening statements, the parties present their evidence and witnesses.
- The arbitrator swears in the witnesses and makes rulings on the admissibility of evidence.
- After all evidence is presented and all witnesses have been heard, the parties make closing arguments.
- After the session, the arbitrator must submit an award in writing and file it with the Civil Clerk’s Office, with copies to all parties.
Cases for Which Arbitration May Not Be Appropriate
If parties want to retain control over how their dispute is resolved, arbitration, particularly binding arbitration, is not appropriate.
If you have received a Notice of Arbitration or have any question or concerns about attending an arbitration, call the Law Office of Peter Cameron today at 877-603-8473. We can help you understand the process and prepare for a favorable outcome of your case.
This article is for educational and marketing purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship.