Arbitration in law is a form of alternative dispute resolution in which the parties in a dispute agree to have a neutral third party, known as an arbitrator, make a binding decision to resolve their dispute. This is an alternative to going to court, where a judge would make a decision for them.
An arbitrator is a person who is appointed by the parties to a dispute or by an institution to act as a neutral third party to resolve the dispute through arbitration. Arbitrators are responsible for conducting the arbitration process, which may involve hearing evidence, considering legal arguments, and making a final decision.
In general, anyone who is over 18 years old, of sound mind, and has the necessary qualifications and expertise in the subject matter of the dispute can be an arbitrator. The specific qualifications required may vary depending on the nature of the dispute and the rules of the arbitration institution.
Some common types of individuals who may act as arbitrators include retired judges, lawyers, industry experts, and academics. Many arbitrators also have training or certification in arbitration, which can demonstrate their knowledge and competence in this area.
The parties to a dispute have the ability to select an arbitrator that they both agree on, which can help ensure that the arbitrator is impartial and well-suited to the specific dispute. In some cases, however, the parties may be unable to agree on an arbitrator, in which case an institution may appoint an arbitrator on their behalf.
Are There Situations Where Only Specific Arbitrators May Be Used?
In some situations, the parties to a dispute may agree to use a specific arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators to resolve their dispute. Here are some examples:
- Industry-specific arbitrators: In some industries, such as construction or finance, specific arbitrators may have specialized knowledge and expertise in the industry. Parties to a dispute in these industries may use a specialized arbitrator to ensure that the arbitrator deeply understands the issues involved.
- Court-appointed arbitrators: In some cases, a court may appoint an arbitrator to resolve a dispute. This may happen when the parties have agreed to use arbitration but have not been able to agree on an arbitrator or when the court believes that arbitration is the best way to resolve a dispute.
- Institutional arbitrators: Some arbitration institutions maintain lists of approved arbitrators who have been trained and certified by the institution. Parties to a dispute may choose to use one of these arbitrators to ensure that the arbitration is conducted according to the institution’s rules and procedures.
- Retired judges: Retired judges may be used as arbitrators in some cases. They often have extensive experience in making legal decisions and may be viewed as impartial and unbiased by the parties to the dispute.
In each of these cases, the parties to the dispute have the ability to select an arbitrator that they both agree on. This can help ensure that the arbitrator is impartial and well-suited to the specific dispute. However, in some cases, an institution or a court may appoint an arbitrator on their behalf if they are unable to agree on an arbitrator.
How Many Arbitrators Do I Need?
The number of arbitrators required for an arbitration process depends on several factors, including the rules of the institution or organization that will administer the arbitration and the nature of the dispute. Here are some general guidelines:
- Single arbitrator: In some cases, a single arbitrator may be sufficient to resolve a dispute. This is common in smaller disputes or disputes where the issues are relatively straightforward.
- Three arbitrators: In other cases, a panel of three arbitrators may be required. This is common in larger and more complex disputes or disputes where the parties have agreed to use a specific institution that requires a panel of three arbitrators.
- Additional arbitrators: In some cases, more than three arbitrators may be required. This is less common and may depend on the specific circumstances of the dispute.
It’s important to note that the parties to the dispute may have some control over the number of arbitrators used. For example, if they agree to use an arbitration institution that requires a panel of three arbitrators, they may be able to agree on the specific arbitrators who will serve on the panel. In other cases, the number of arbitrators may be specified in a contract or other agreement between the parties.
How Can I Find an Arbitrator?
There are several methods of selecting arbitrators, depending on the specific circumstances of your dispute.
Many disputes are resolved through an arbitration institution, which will often have a roster of arbitrators available. These institutions may have their own rules for selecting arbitrators, which could involve the parties selecting an arbitrator from a list or the institution appointing an arbitrator on the parties’ behalf.
There are online directories that list arbitrators and their qualifications. These directories can be a useful resource for finding an arbitrator who has experience in your specific industry or type of dispute.
You may be able to find an arbitrator by asking for recommendations from colleagues or other professionals who have experience in your industry or type of dispute. This can be a good way to find an arbitrator who is well-respected and has a good reputation for fairness and impartiality.
Some professional associations, such as bar associations or industry associations, may maintain lists of arbitrators or have a referral service that can help you find an arbitrator.
If you have a specific arbitrator in mind, you can use a search engine to look up their name and qualifications. This can be a good way to learn more about an arbitrator’s background and experience.
Ultimately, the method you use to find an arbitrator will depend on the specific circumstances of your dispute and the resources available to you. Choose an arbitrator who is experienced in the type of dispute you are facing and who has a reputation for being fair and impartial.
What Should I Look For in an Arbitrator?
When selecting an arbitrator, you should consider several qualifications to ensure they are competent, impartial, and qualified to handle your dispute. Here are some key qualifications to look for in an arbitrator:
- Experience: Look for an arbitrator who has experience in a specific area of law or industry related to your dispute. This can help ensure that the arbitrator understands the issues and makes informed decisions.
- Training and qualifications: Consider an arbitrator’s education, training, and professional qualifications. Arbitrators who are certified or accredited by professional organizations may have additional training and qualifications that can enhance their ability to handle your dispute.
- Reputation and impartiality: Look for an arbitrator who is well-respected and has a reputation for being fair, impartial, and unbiased. It’s important that the arbitrator does not have any conflicts of interest or bias that could affect their decision-making.
- Availability: Consider the arbitrator’s availability and workload. An arbitrator who is too busy may not be able to give your dispute the attention it deserves, while an arbitrator who is too available may not be in high demand and may not have as much experience.
- Cost: Consider the cost of the arbitrator’s services. While cost should not be the only factor in your decision, it’s important to ensure that the cost of the arbitration is reasonable and within your budget.
How Do I Hire an Arbitrator?
Before hiring an arbitrator, you should determine the rules and procedures governing the arbitration process. This may involve consulting a contract, agreement, or applicable laws to determine what rules will apply.
Once you have determined the rules, you can choose an arbitrator who is qualified and experienced in handling your type of dispute.
You will need to negotiate the arbitration terms, including the arbitrator’s fees, the location of the arbitration, and any other terms that may be relevant to the dispute.
Once you have negotiated the terms, you will need to sign an agreement outlining the arbitration terms, including the arbitrator’s fees, the scope of the dispute, and any other relevant terms.
Can I Appeal the Arbitrator’s Decision?
In most cases, an arbitrator’s decision is final and binding and cannot be appealed. However, in some situations, it may be possible to challenge an arbitrator’s decision.
In some cases, an arbitration award may be vacated if there was fraud, corruption, or other misconduct by the arbitrator or if the arbitrator exceeded their authority.
If the arbitrator made a mistake in their decision, it might be possible to correct the award through a motion to correct or modify the award.
In some cases, it may be possible to challenge an arbitrator’s decision through a process known as judicial review. This involves filing a lawsuit in court to challenge the decision on the grounds that it was made in violation of the law or public policy.
The ability to challenge an arbitrator’s decision is limited and will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. It’s always a good idea to consult with an attorney if you are considering challenging an arbitrator’s decision.
Do I Need an Attorney’s Help in Choosing an Arbitrator?
If you are experiencing an employment-related legal issue and need assistance, contact an experienced employment lawyer. An employment lawyer can provide guidance and representation for a wide range of issues, including discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, wage and hour disputes, and more.
Don’t wait to seek legal advice if you are experiencing an employment-related issue. Contact an employment lawyer today to discuss your situation and explore your options for legal recourse.