A majority of family law disputes are settled without the need for a formal court trial. Many parties utilize alternate dispute resolution, whether it be mediation or a mediation/arbitration process.
Arbitration is an option that can facilitate, and in fact, impose a binding decision. It is important to note that it is often seen as more cost-effective for parties to settle a dispute out of court. While this is true in a general sense, being the long-term, it is usually more costly in the short term. This is primarily due to a compressed and fast-tracked schedule that is set. Having said that, rights to an appeal may be limited in arbitration matters thereby avoiding ongoing costs to the parties.
Arbitration often results in a conclusion faster as there is fewer external personnel involved. In any court proceeding, whether litigation or arbitration, there needs to be a certain amount of integrity and honesty between both parties in order to ensure equality in a ruling.
Ensuring fairness should come as second nature during an arbitration dispute. Nevertheless, there are instances where that might not be the case. Even though it is not required for you to have an attorney present during an arbitration dispute it is highly recommended, and most adjudicators in fact require counsel to be present.
Similar to litigation, arbitration is a legally-binding process that may impact your rights. Attorneys are trained professionals who have the expertise to deal with the myriad of issues that may arise. In knowing this, it is important too, at the very least, consult an attorney before and after the arbitration process.
It is also important to note that arbitration is often confused with mediation, which is an informal process of bringing in a third party who goes between the disputing parties to help them settle a dispute. Unlike arbitration, mediation is only binding if the parties agree to a settlement.
There are certain ways you can ensure fairness during an arbitration process.
For example, being in accordance with section 19(2) of the Arbitration Act which states that “each gathering will be allowed a chance to introduce the case and to react to the next gathering’s case.”
This means that you’re given the opportunity to present your argument as well counter to the opposing parties’ position.
You can ensure fairness by providing proper notice to the opposing party. This is a crucial part of establishing equity within arbitration because, in order to meaningfully present a case and respond to another party’s case, a gathering must recognize what issues are in debate. This can only be done if both parties understand and acknowledge what the dispute is going to be regarding. If someone fails to provide you with sufficient notice of an issue they intend to raise, you may be successful in appealing the arbitration award.
Technically not a mandatory factor in arbitration, it is helpful for adjudicators to have pleadings to aid in their understanding of the dispute and guarantee that all issues are dealt with.
If you are entering into an arbitration process and would like some guidance and/or an attorney present with you during that time, please feel free to contact us for a free 30-minute consultation. Our lawyers are knowledgeable and compassionate but stern when needed.
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