Arbitration is a form of resolving civil disputes privately, outside of the actual court system. Instead of taking their case to court and having it decided by a jury or judge, both parties voluntarily agree to have the case heard and decided by a private arbitration panel. Arbitration is different from court litigation in a number of significant ways. It offers many advantages compared to a trial in the court system. But it also has a number of drawbacks. This article summarizes both the perks of arbitration and the drawbacks as compared to the traditional method of litigating in the court system.
We do not arbitrate as many cases as we did ten years ago. Why? First, we handle more malpractice cases than we ever have and malpractice does not lend itself to arbitration. But I honestly think there are not as many good arbitrators for serious personal injury cases as there once were. Most arbitrators also do mediations. Anyone would rather do mediations than arbitrations because when you make a final call, someone is usually unhappy. So it seems like every time a new mediator/arbitrator comes on the scene and is well received, they soon are no longer doing arbitrations. Also, many arbitrators are retired judges who are close to retiring again.
Anyway, if you are considering arbitration, here are some pros and cons to consider.