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Navigating the Arbitration Hearing Process

by | Dec 22, 2020 | Litigation & Dispute Resolution

Arbitration is a private process where disputing parties agree that a third party can make a decision about their dispute.

The legal team at YK Law have both domestic and international experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants in negotiation, mediation, arbitration, conciliation, and conflict resolution, as well as vigorous courtroom strategy and advocacy, multi-party and class action lawsuits, and appellate proceedings.

Join the arbitration lawyers at YK Law for answers to the most frequently asked questions about arbitration. We advise clients about arbitration and choice of law, draft enforceable arbitration clauses, represent both plaintiffs and defendants at arbitration hearings, and act as arbitrators in commercial, international, securities, creditors’ rights, and product liability matters, as well as white collar crime, administrative law proceedings and other disputes or controversies. We can help with your arbitration issue.

What is an Arbitration Hearing?

An arbitration hearing is held when two parties in a dispute meet with an impartial third party called an arbitrator, in order to resolve their dispute.

What are Arbitration Hearings Based On?

Arbitration hearings are mandated by private agreement or contract between the parties. The parties may be commercial, consumer, or any other person or entity.

Frequently, a contract for service or for providing goods will have an arbitration clause providing that any dispute will be resolved through arbitration rather than litigation. Consumers, by purchasing a product, often agree in the fine print that any problem with the product will be resolved through arbitration.

What are the Steps in the Arbitration Process?

When two parties have a contract that mandates arbitration, it will also provide for how the arbitrator is selected and by whom. Some sophisticated matters may call for more than one arbitrator. A hearing or hearings will be scheduled, and the parties or their representatives will sit down with the arbitrator, who will control the hearing much like a judge controls a courtroom.

At YK Law, we have deep experience with complex litigation and arbitration matters, including those involving commercial, international, securities, creditors’ rights, product liability, white collar crime, administrative law proceedings, and other disputes and controversies.

Who Goes First in Arbitration?

This will depend upon what the contract between the parties provides, and/or what the arbitrator requests. Usually, the complaining party (the “plaintiff”) will speak first.

What is the Due Process for an Arbitration Hearing?

Strictly speaking, there is no due process in an arbitration hearing. “Due process” is a phrase that describes the fairness of a proceeding for all parties involved, and is a Constitutional right.

One might conclude that if two parties voluntarily enter into a contract that provides, among other things, that any dispute will be resolved by arbitration, that they believe it is fair at the time.

Still, an arbitration clause will specify what state, federal, or international law will apply to the matter in dispute, and the arbitrator must follow that law.

How Does an Arbitrator Make a Decision?

The arbitrator will take into consideration everything the parties say and any other documents or information that is in evidence, following the law that the contract specifies applies.

How Do I Prepare for an Arbitration Hearing?

You should meet with your representative, who will review the dispute and help you prepare your testimony, experts, and evidence.

How Long Does it Take for an Arbitrator to Make a Decision?

Simple matters can often be resolved immediately in one hearing. Other complex legal, medical, scientific, financial, technical, or commercial matters necessarily take several hearings, as expert testimony will likely be required.

We have represented parties in arbitration involving the following types of disputes, among others:

  • National and international business and commercial contract performance and relationships;
  • Intellectual property;
  • Employment non-compete and trade secrets under state and federal laws, under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act or Defend Trade Secrets Act;
  • Treatment of creditors in business bankruptcy;
  • Securities and shareholder actions;
  • Tort litigation and product liability; Labor and employment discrimination;
  • OSHA citations;
  • Real estate and construction.

Who Usually Pays for Arbitration?

The contract between the parties will specify. Most commonly, the parties split the arbitration fee. Sometimes a contract will provide that the losing party will pay all fees.

What Happens if You Lose in Arbitration?

It depends upon whether the contract provides for binding arbitration or not. If you lose in binding arbitration, you are bound by the decision and there is no avenue of reconsideration or appeal.

If arbitration is non-binding, then if you believe you should not have lost, you have the option to file a lawsuit.

What Happens When You Win in Arbitration?

Again, this depends upon whether the arbitration was binding or not. If binding and you are the plaintiff the arbitrator will award you the relief you sought or a version thereof. If you are the defendant and you win, then the other party does not get the relief they sought.

Is Arbitration Better Than Going to Court?

Arbitration can be much less expensive, and may be quicker than filing a lawsuit.

How YK Law Can Help You Navigate Your Arbitration Hearing

Our legal team includes both plaintiff and defense attorneys who have extensive practice experience in the full spectrum of dispute resolution and litigation mechanisms. We also review the arbitration provisions in your contractual documents and advise you on your options if your matter goes to arbitration before you sign the contract. Call us to discuss how you can best handle your dispute.