What is arbitration?
Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”), in which a dispute is resolved outside of the Courts. However, unlike other forms of ADR, a legally-binding award is made rather than just recommendations.
The arbitration will be conducted in front of an independent arbitration panel, comprising of between one to three arbitrators.
Why use arbitration?
Parties are now obliged under the Civil Procedure Rules to make reasonable efforts to resolve any dispute through alternative means before the formal issue of proceedings, and as such, arbitration is commonly relied upon to resolve contractual disputes.
Provision for arbitration may be set out within an ‘arbitration agreement’, or by reference to the rules of a specific arbitration institution such as the ‘International Chamber of Commerce’, ‘International Centre for Dispute Resolution’ or the ‘London Court of International Arbitration’.
Section 6 (1) of the Arbitration Act 1996 defines an arbitration agreement as “an agreement to submit to arbitration present or future disputes (whether they are contractual or not)”, and prescribes that “agreement to a written form of arbitration clause or to a document containing an arbitration clause constitutes an arbitration agreement if the reference is such as to make that clause part of the agreement” (section 6 (2)).
Arbitration agreements commonly take the form of an ‘arbitration provision’ in construction contracts, which sets out the ability of parties to refer certain matters to arbitration and details the steps to be taken. The steps contained within this provision must be complied with if a dispute occurs.
If arbitration is to be carried out in accordance with a specific arbitral institution, the rules of that institution must be followed which will set out the procedure which must be followed by parties.
It is important to understand the significance of terms, conditions and obligations contained within standard contract provisions as non-compliance may prevent the pursuit or enforcement of claims. We have detailed knowledge and expertise in contract law, allowing us to effectively advise on the key considerations and obligations relevant to you, and to successfully pursue claims on your behalf.
How long does the process take?
The arbitrator will usually arrange the first meeting, in person or virtually between the parties within 45 days of service of the notice of arbitration; however, the process, procedure and timetable can be agreed between the parties and the arbitrator, allowing for flexibility.
What are the benefits of arbitration?
- With arbitration agreements, parties are able to agree the dispute resolution procedure themselves so can have more control over the process than with litigation where the directions are provided by the Court. This flexibility means that parties can tailor the procedure to suit their specific needs.
- Arbitration can be less expensive than litigation, as the process can be tailored to the parties individual requirements, and does not always have “issue fees” depending on the form used.
- Arbitration is a closed procedure which means that the process takes place in private, unlike courts which are open to the public. Privacy may be desirable to parties which may not want the dispute to be associated with their company name as it may have an effect on their reputation.
Why Barton Legal?
We have experience of ADR in all its forms and its use in resolving issues, so are able to advise as to the practical application in your case.
Bill Barton is a trained mediator and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and is highly experienced in this area and can provide assistance with the arbitration process from a position of real knowledge and experience.