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What basic steps are involved in arbitration?

UPDATED: February 20, 2013

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After all parties have been informed of the controversy, an agreement can be reached to resolve the matter through arbitration. The parties decide whether the arbitration will be binding or non-binding and then select the arbitrator. Usually the arbitrator is selected from a panel or list of available arbitrators. Once the matter has been submitted to the arbitrator (and when each side has paid his/her respective share of the arbitrator's fee), the arbitrator will contact all parties. A schedule will be set, which includes when all documents must be exchanged, when all witnesses must be disclosed, when arbitration briefs (written statements covering the facts and the law of the given controversy) are to be submitted, and where and when the hearing will be conducted.

At the arbitration hearing, each of the respective parties is allowed to present his/her evidence concerning the controversy. Opening statements can be presented, but are usually waived since arbitration briefs have been submitted. Witnesses (both percipient -those who saw and heard - as well as experts) are examined and cross-examined. Documents and other evidence are submitted. Closing arguments may be presented.

Once all evidence has been submitted to the arbitrator, the matter is taken under submission. This means that the arbitrator will take some time to consider all of the evidence that has been presented. After carefully review, the arbitrator will make an "arbitrator's award." After the arbitrator's award has been issued, the prevailing party often has the ability to have it issued as an enforceable order of a court of law.

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