Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) allows two or more parties in conflict to take their case before a neutral third party outside of the court system. This often has the benefit of sparing them the expense of litigation and to avoid a trial. Many contracts now include clauses requiring the submission of disputes to arbitration which is a type of ADR that resembles a trial. If the parties have agreed in advance, the arbitrator’s award will be binding on them. In fact, federal and state laws have encouraged the arbitration of disputes and have established procedures for enforcing binding arbitration awards.
What Is Binding Arbitration?
An arbitration is similar in many ways to a courtroom trial. A trained and certified arbitrator, or a panel of arbitrators, conducts a “trial” in which both sides present their claims, defenses, and evidence. The arbitrator then makes a decision and issues an award.
This award is only binding on both parties if they have agreed in writing. If an arbitration agreement does not specify that the award will be binding, either party is free to disregard it and seek other means of redress.
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