Arbitration photo Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) used in place of traditional litigation in the hope of resolving a dispute without the cost and time of having a court trial before a judge. 

Arbitration is a process of bringing a dispute before a disinterested third-party, an arbitrator, who is a former judge or attorney. Both sides present their case and the Arbitrator makes a final ruling. Consequently, Arbitration is often referred to as a mini-trial because evidence is presented to the arbitrator and the arbitrator is a decision-maker.

As an alternative to traditional litigation, Arbitration may be a means to:

  • • resolve the dispute without court action, after an unsuccessful attempt at mediation;
  • • resolve the dispute less expensively than through traditional litigation;
  • • navigate through a process where the rules of evidence is more flexible;
  • • be heard in a more informal setting without having to submit to a rigid hearing format like that in a courtroom, which may be intimidating and/or traumatic;
  • • obtain an advisory opinion rendered by an arbitrator if parties agree to engage in private, non-binding mediation under RCW 7.04;
  • • obtain a binding and enforceable resolution of their case matter, in instances when Arbitration is mandatory upon the parties under RCW 7.06 or when the parties utilize private mediation under RCW 7.04 and define the parameters to include agreement to be bound by the arbitrator's decision;
  • • appoint an arbitrator with an appropriate degree of expertise when the subject matter of the dispute is highly technical, recognizing that the parties cannot choose the judge who will hear their case at trial;
  • • provide the parties, who believe their dispute is fairly straightforward, with the option to waive an in-person hearing and instead submit written briefs to the arbitrator;
  • • receive a decision in a short period of time;

Arbitration is often confused with mediation, but the two alternative dispute resolution processes are not synonyms for one another. Unlike Arbitrators, mediators do not hear evidence, provide legal advice/opinion or render decisions, and the mediation process is not in and of itself binding on the parties.

At Skantze Law we assist our clients when their case matters go to arbitration and we also are available to serve as a neutral third party arbitrator for cases in which we are not the attorney of record.

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