What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution out-of-court where an impartial third party(s) is retained to make a binding decision. It is prevalent in employment/labor, sports law, financial, and consumer disputes. Not only are the matters private and confidential, but parties can exercise additional control over the arbitration process by adding specific provisions to their contracts’ arbitration clauses or, when a dispute arises, through the modification of certain aspects of the arbitration rules to suit a particular dispute. While courts do acknowledge that parties have a right to a jury trial, they also favor such means of alternative dispute resolution in order to reduce caseload and avoid exponential litigation costs, thus often find arbitration provisions enforceable by law.


Jury Trial






Judge w/o input from parties

Arbitrator selected by parties

Relief Granted

Limited by common law or statute

Based upon both law and equity

Process Length



Motion Practice






Right to Appeal




Stipulations may be made regarding confidentiality of proprietary information used; evidence, locale, number of arbitrators; and issues subject to arbitration, for example. The parties may also provide for expedited arbitration procedures, including the time limit for rendering an award, if they anticipate a need for hearings to be scheduled on short notice. All such mutual agreements will be binding on the American Arbitration Association as well as the arbitrator. The AAA has also developed special Procedures for Large, Complex Disputes.

Prior to the initial hearing in a case, the AAA may schedule either an administrative conference with the parties or a preliminary hearing with the arbitrator(s) and the parties to arrange for such matters as the production of relevant documents and the identification of witnesses, and for discussion of and agreement by the parties to any desired rule modifications. AAA administration is guided by those decisions that the parties make as to how to handle such sensitive issues as privacy of proceedings, confidentiality, trade secrets, evidence, proprietary information, and injunctive relief.



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