Facing accusations of unfair business practices may negatively affect your company, regardless of the circumstances. Going to court over the allegations may cause even more bad publicity. We often advise companies to consider arbitration for their commercial disputes.
Here are some of the ways arbitration may benefit your company, according to the American Bar Association.
If your case goes to court, it could easily take two to three years to resolve, or even longer if the dockets are full or the case includes complex discovery, expert witnesses, etc. This does not include appeals.
On average, a commercial dispute takes about seven months to move through arbitration from beginning to end. You and the other party may even set your own limits on the length of time you will have for discovery and hearing processes to wrap things up on your own schedules.
Naturally, resolving a dispute in a third of the time will save considerable expense. Litigation-related expenses that may not apply in arbitration include:
- Jury charges
- Authentication of documents
- Qualification of experts
- Evidentiary issues
- Proposed findings of fact
You may need to have the same expert witnesses speak in your arbitration case as you would have in court. However, if one of your witnesses can only come in on a Tuesday morning, for example, you may be able to arrange that. Similarly, you may accommodate witnesses by scheduling the hearing after business hours, allowing testimony by video and using written rather than oral testimony.
In court, you would probably face the judge that the system assigns to you based on the docket. Whether the judge has experience with your type of conflict or a reputation for fairness will not necessarily be relevant. Under the arbitration system, parties typically are able to choose arbitrators with qualifications they prefer, such as subject expertise, temperament, experience, availability and reputation for competence, efficiency and effectiveness.
Of course, there are times when arbitration is not the best option for the matter at hand. For more information about commercial dispute resolution options, please visit our webpage.