Arbitration is a binding alternative to a trial. The advantages are that it can be quicker and cheaper than court litigation, since it allows only limited discovery and a hearing date can usually be obtained shortly after the arbitration proceeding is commenced.
In arbitration, discovery is limited, and the rules of evidence do not need to be applied by arbitrators, so hearsay, affidavits and other less reliable testimony can be introduced and can influence the outcome. It is also very difficult to overturn an arbitration award on appeal. An arbitration proceeding in a complex case which requires many days of hearings, all of which need to be scheduled at the convenience of the parties, witnesses and arbitrators, can also take more time and cost more than if the case were litigated in court.
Roslyn Litman is an arbitrator of the American Arbitration Association (for both Complex Commercial and Employment Law panels) and has been appointed by disputing parties in a wide range of arbitration proceedings, helping parties to reach a faster, less expensive result than through trial.