Commercial disputes are an all too frequent fact of life. They can be time-consuming and stressful and you can find yourself facing some degree of financial uncertainty. Battling things out in court often seems like an inevitability but there are alternatives to this. Alternative dispute resolution, which is often shortened to ADR, is the umbrella term given to the various methods used to settle disputes that do not require court proceedings. Many businesses and individuals are eager to solve their disputes in a quick, cost-effective and confidential way, and ADR brings the opportunity to do so. Commonly used in disputes relating to insurance and construction, arbitration is a more formal method, which is governed by statute and sees the arbiter taking all evidence on board before making an enforceable award. In this article, what is arbitration, we take a look at the mechanism involved.
Free Initial Telephone Discussion
For a free initial discussion on how we can help you settle a dispute by arbitration, get in touch with us today. We will review your situation and discuss the options open to you in a clear and approachable manner. Early expert legal assistance can help stop matters escalating, saving you money and also avoiding the stress of dealing with these issues on your own. Simply call us on 0345 901 0445 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will get back to you.
What is the procedure for arbitration?
Arbitration is a formal type of ADR which involves a tribunal process and an independent arbiter who hears both sides of a dispute before coming to a decision.
The arbitration process is run as a tribunal, usually with either one or a panel of three arbiters. The arbiter decides on the procedural and evidential matters. Often disclosure of documents will be required and there can be cross-examination of witnesses, but proceedings will normally be shorter and less formal than litigation. The arbiter makes a firm decision on a case, based on the evidence presented by the parties. It must be remembered that arbitration is voluntary, so both sides must agree to go to arbitration; they should also agree in advance that they will abide by the arbiter’s decision. If you don’t agree with the outcome, you wont be able to go to court at a later date.
Any decision made by the arbiter is legally binding in the same way as a judgment would be. Furthermore, under international conventions, any arbitration awards or judgments in foreign countries are enforceable in the UK and vice-versa. This applies to any country that has signed the international convention. UK law allows for the enforcement of both arbitration judgments in the UK and also foreign ones.
Are there any other reasons I should try and avoid going to court?
- Costs – It isn’t unheard of for costs to exceed the value of the claim
- You will not recover all your fees. Even if you win, you are likely to recover only 60 – 80% of your legal fees.
- The UK legal system is designed to encourage settlement either directly between the parties or by some form of ADR. If you do not show attempts to settle, the court can order that you pay some or all of the opponent’s legal costs even if the opponent loses.
What is the role of the arbiter?
An arbiter is a nominated independent third party who should be experienced in handling the arbitration process. Their role is similar to that of a judge, in that they will listen to both sides and come to a decision. However, they will also encourage collaborative communication, as opposed to an adversarial approach. Although no specific qualifications are necessary to act as an arbiter, some legal experience is useful, as is industry knowledge if the dispute involves technical matters.
How we can help
We have a proven track record of dealing with and advising on alternative forms of dispute resolution including arbitration. We will guide you through the process and ensure all checks are carried out swiftly and efficiently and we firmly believe that with the right solicitors by your side, the entire process will seem more manageable and far less daunting.
How to Contact our Commercial Litigation Solicitors
It is important for you to be well informed about the issues and obstacles you are facing. However, expert legal support is crucial in terms of saving you money and ensuring you achieve a positive outcome.
To speak to our litigation solicitors today, simply call us on 0345 901 0445, or allow a member of the team to get back to you by filling in our online enquiry form. We are well known across the country and can assist wherever you are based. We also have offices based in Cheshire and London.