Carolina Family Arbitration and Mediation Services
Arbitration is different than mediation in that it is a process by which parties present their evidence and advocate their positions to a neutral arbitrator who functions much like a judge in a traditional court proceeding. In other words, the parties present their cases to the arbitrator and the arbitrator then issues a decision.
Parties may elect to submit their disputes to arbitration by entering into a contract to do so, and may elect to make the arbitration binding or non-binding. While somewhat similar to a courtroom trial, arbitration offers some advantages to litigation. Some of these advantages include:
- The ability of the parties to schedule the arbitration proceeding to suit their schedules, rather than according to court scheduling rules. This often means the matter can be arbitrated much more quickly than it would be tried in court;
- Arbitration hearings are typically conducted in a more private setting, as opposed to a public courtroom. The parties can therefore keep their personal disputes relatively private;
- Parties an actually pick an arbitrator that they believe has the background, experience and temperament to hear all sides of the dispute, carefully consider all of the evidence presented, reach a fair decision. While the arbitrator’s fee is based upon the time spent in conducting the arbitration and preparing the arbitration award may vary according to his or her experience, that cost is typically divided between the parties.
- Parties can agree to streamline procedural rules by modifying the rules of evidence that are required to be followed in court proceedings. The parties also sometimes agree to prepare and exchange exhibits or evidence in advance of the arbitration hearing and to submit that evidence to the arbitrator in advance of the hearing to allow the arbitrator to prepare for the hearing and use time during the hearing more efficiently.
- Lastly, arbitration hearings are usually much less formal than court proceedings, resulting in less nervousness, stress and anxiety for the parties and their attorneys.