You probably have a general understanding of how the legal process works: Some cases are civil, some are criminal, one person (plaintiff) sues another (defendant), and a team of lawyers will help each side and argue their case as to why each one is right. When you think of the legal process, you likely think of a judge, a courtroom, a jury, and high stakes. However, the truth is that many cases settle before reaching trial and some cases go through a process that’s called arbitration.
So, what is arbitration? When is it the preferred method? How does it work?
Let’s go over the basics of arbitration.
What is Arbitration?
At its core, arbitration is a way to resolve disputes outside of the courtroom. It’s an alternative form of dispute that provides an alternative to filing a lawsuit (the more traditional and known form of resolving legal disputes).
A lawsuit can be very costly, and arbitration is a way to save money to deal with legal matters.
When is it Appropriate to Arbitrate?
Arbitration can only be used as a method of resolving legal disputes if all parties in the dispute agree to it. So, if one party wants to arbitrate and the other doesn’t, then you may be out of luck.
Typically, an agreement to arbitrate comes in the form of a written contract agreed to by both parties. In fact, it’s likely that you’ve agreed to arbitration if you have shopped online. In the fine print of many online retailers’ agreements, it will state that agreements to resolve disputes will be through arbitration.
How Arbitration Works
Now that you have a rough idea of what it is, you’ll need to understand how it works. In most cases, the “complaining party” will send the “opposing party” a notice of arbitration that outlines the dispute between the two parties. Typically, there will be a period where the opposing party will have the opportunity to respond and then there will be a selection of arbitrators.
Typically, there will be input from both parties to select the arbitrators, which can be a panel or just one arbitrator. Generally, arbitration works in a lot of the same ways as a courtroom trial (evidence will be presented, arguments are made, and witnesses will be called to testify, etc.), but one of the biggest differences is that arbitration is generally a quicker method of resolving a legal dispute.
Do you have a legal issue that you think could be solved through arbitration? Have you been sent a notice of the intent to arbitrate and need legal representation in Georgia? Call the Fry Law team at (404) 948-3571 to find out more about your legal options.