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What is arbitration anyway?

Arbitration is an expedited and less expensive process for a dispute to get resolved. Mandatory arbitration is used in many industries and becoming the norm for franchise agreements. Franchisors utilize arbitration as a quick and easy way to perhaps collect its past due royalties. A franchisee may also seek to use arbitration to resolve a dispute with a franchisor. Many times the franchise relationship does continue even though there is an arbitration preceding in process. Depending on the arbitration tribunal indicated in the arbitrate clause, your dispute will be heard before an experienced attorney or a judge or retired judge. There may be more than 1 arbitrator required by your agreement. In general, the matter will be scheduled for hearing in about 4-6 months after the initial case is filed, much quicker than traditional litigation. In addition arbitration is much more informal, no courtroom, no jury no bailiff, no court reporter, just a conference room everyone sits around. Both sides call their witnesses and present their exhibits, and there is cross examination. However the atmosphere is less formal, the rules of evidence are less formal, and generally witnesses can say what they want, without objection. The arbitrator hears the evidence and testimony and makes a ruling, generally within 14-30 days after the end of the hearing, and the ruling is binding, unless there was some kind of provable arbitration misconduct or bias. Arbitration is an efficient method of resolving disputes. And the disputes many times resolve themselves before the hearing. If you are contemplating arbitration or have been given a demand for arbitration call me today to discuss your situation and strategy.

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