Arbitration | What is Arbitration and is it right for your matter?

Key Points

  • Arbitration is a flexible and private dispute resolution method that diverges from formal court proceedings.
  • Parties have the autonomy to choose their arbitrator, set a convenient time and place for proceedings, and maintain confidentiality throughout the process.
  • The binding nature of the arbitral award ensures a conclusive resolution, offering a quicker and often more cost-effective alternative to traditional litigation.


Arbitration is a dispute resolution method gaining popularity, providing a faster and more flexible alternative to traditional court proceedings. In this article, we’ll delve into the key aspects of arbitration, differentiating it from mediation and court processes, exploring when and why arbitration occurs, and discussing the benefits, appeal options, and costs associated with this alternative dispute resolution method.

Arbitration is a consensual process where parties involved in a dispute submit their case to an impartial third party, known as an arbitrator. The arbitrator, often an expert in the relevant field, renders a binding decision after considering the evidence and arguments presented by both parties. This process allows for a more streamlined and confidential resolution compared to lengthy court proceedings.

How is Arbitration Different from Mediation

While both arbitration and mediation are forms of alternative dispute resolution, they differ in their approaches. Mediation involves a neutral third party facilitating discussions between disputing parties to help them reach a mutually acceptable agreement. In arbitration, the arbitrator makes a binding decision, providing a resolution when parties cannot agree on their own.

How is Arbitration Different from Court

Arbitration differs significantly from court proceedings in terms of flexibility, informality, and confidentiality. Unlike court hearings, arbitration allows parties to choose their arbitrator, set the hearing schedule, and maintain privacy. This often results in a more efficient and cost-effective resolution process.

When Does Arbitration Occur

Arbitration typically occurs when parties have a pre-existing agreement to resolve disputes through this method. Commonly found in contracts, these arbitration clauses outline the process and rules governing the resolution. It is crucial to have a clear and enforceable arbitration agreement in place before a dispute arises.

Benefits of Arbitration

Arbitration offers numerous advantages, such as a quicker resolution timeline, flexibility in procedure, and the ability to choose an arbitrator with expertise in the relevant area. Additionally, the private nature of arbitration allows parties to maintain confidentiality, avoiding public exposure of sensitive information. Arbitration offers the following benefits:

  1. Flexibility – Arbitration offers a departure from the formalities of a Court hearing, allowing for a more tailored approach that caters to the specific needs of the involved parties and their issues.
  2. Avoidance of delay – Parties in arbitration have the autonomy to establish their own timetable for evidence procurement and document filing. This self-directed approach minimizes delays inherent in formal Court processes, ensuring that the chosen timetable aligns with the parties’ preferences. Moreover, the risk of matters not being heard on the scheduled day is mitigated, as arbitrators typically focus solely on the case at hand, unlike overloaded Court schedules.
  3. Convenience – Unlike litigation, where the Court dictates the date and venue of a hearing, arbitration provides the flexibility for parties and the arbitrator to agree on a convenient time and location mutually.
  4. Confidentiality – Arbitration proceedings unfold within a confidential environment, and arbitrators are bound by the duty to uphold the privacy of all communications and information received during their role as arbitrator.
  5. Cost – Parties can realise substantial savings by tailoring the arbitration process to their specific needs and bypassing the costs associated with traditional Court proceedings. 
  6. Binding result – An arbitral award serves as a definitive resolution to the dispute, with its binding and enforceable nature, subject to limited review rights as outlined in the relevant legislation.
  7. Choice of decision maker – Parties retain the power to select their arbitrator, empowering them to choose an individual with expertise in the relevant field to preside over their dispute, unlike the Court process, where a the Court appoints a judge or decision maker without the parties consultation.

Can You Appeal an Arbitration Decision

In general, arbitration decisions are final and binding, with limited grounds for appeal. The courts usually only intervene if there is evidence of fraud, misconduct, or a serious error in law. It is essential to carefully consider the terms of the arbitration agreement and seek legal advice before entering into the process.

What is the Cost of Arbitration

The costs of arbitration can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the dispute, the chosen arbitrator’s fees, and administrative expenses. While arbitration may involve upfront costs, it often proves more cost-effective in the long run compared to protracted court battles.

Summing it all up

Arbitration provides a valuable avenue for parties seeking a quicker, more flexible, and confidential dispute resolution process. Understanding the distinctions between arbitration, mediation, and court proceedings is crucial for making informed decisions when navigating legal disputes.

If you find yourself in a dispute and need advice on litigation or arbitration of your dispute, contact our litigation and dispute lawyers today.

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No part of these notes can be regarded as legal advice. Although all care has been taken in preparing all notes, readers must not alter their position or refrain from doing so in reliance on any of these notes. Stephen Wawn & Associates do not accept or undertake any duty of care to readers relating to any of these notes. All inquiries should be directed to Stephen Wawn & Associates.