What is Arbitration and Why Do I Need an Arbitration Attorney?
Arbitration is a viable alternative to mediation or litigation as recommended by judges and lawyers in order to avoid overcrowding in the courts. Any case can enter arbitration but this option is more successful if the case is fairly straightforward and the plaintiff and defendant are willing to talk things out. Arbitration hearing are not presided over by a judge but b a panel composed of one to three arbitrators chosen by both sides.
Before listening to the arguments, the panel of arbitrators first reads the pleadings that were filed by the plaintiff and the defendant. Attorneys for both sides can submit documents and a testimony can be given. Although arbitration is somewhat similar to similar trial, it is less formal. Because witnesses do not swear an oath during arbitration they are not subject to perjury laws and other related offenses.
If you have an arbitration case, you benefit because it is more expeditious than traditional trials. if your case is delayed and appealed, your traditional trial can languish in court for years. From the time your case is filed until the time the decision is passed by the panel, the process of arbitration can take a little over a year. If the panel renders a decision, then it is binding on all parties.
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The speed of the process greatly benefits the plaintiff. The speed or arbitration results in smaller legal fees. Defendants benefit from the fact that the decision is confidential and so company cases are not known by the public.
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Because the ruling or award of the panel is final there is no room for appeals and is quite a disadvantage. You also have to pay certain fees related to the size of the award and the number of hearings required to reach the decision.
The cases eligible for arbitration are those that involve individual investors and a person or entity that is with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. If the case involves businesses, then it can be used to settle disputes. Many times that cases are a dispute between an individual and his investor or brokerage house. The reason for this is that most investment firms now insist that their new clients settle any dispute they might have with them in arbitration, rather than in courts. This clause is almost always present in contracts between investors and investors. This process is not exactly less expensive for investment firms but they prefer it because it helps them avoid bad press.
Self defense or representing yourself in an arbitration hearing is not recommended. You don’t want to be pitted against an experience attorney on the side of the defendant to contend with. So it is strongly recommended that you hire a securities arbitration attorney before you file your case.