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Do you want to handle your own arbitration matter?

For many commercial contracts, an arbitration clause is virtually standard. Given the purpose of arbitration as providing a forum for dispute resolution that avoids many of the disadvantages of the court system, from the lengthy timelines on crowded court dockets to the costly demands of fishing-expedition discovery, arbitration is typically viewed as being more responsive and cost effective.

Arbitration can also be attractive in many situations because you are not obligated to obtain legal counsel and you can represent your own interests in the proceedings. It may even appear realistic to do so, with far fewer procedural rules and many of the complex rules of evidence and the overlay of court interpretations of those procedures and rules.

However, such decisions should be made with great care. You need to understand the full extent of your arbitration agreement and the facts of your contract and be capable of creating a compelling case for the arbitrator. Even without the rules of evidence, you will need to produce evidence that supports your arguments, as an arbitrator is unlikely to decide in your favor with little more than innuendo or anecdote to bolster your case.

In addition, you need to understand your arbitration agreement in terms of the consequence should you lose. You should always keep in mind that unless you have agreed to some form of appellate arbitration, the term binding arbitration means just that. If the arbitrator decides in your opponent’s favor, you would have no appeal to another arbitration panel or a court.

You may want to discuss any of these issues with an attorney who is experienced with arbitration before making any decision with regard to any arbitration proceeding.