Alternative Dispute Resolution

— Arbitration —

What is arbitration?

Arbitration is the process by which an experienced legal professional hears evidence on a dispute and makes a ruling. An attorney or person with special expertise usually assumes the role of the arbitrator. The arbitrator makes a decision that is usually binding upon the parties but may be appealed under very limited circumstances.

Are there different forms of arbitration?

Arbitration is usually voluntary, which means the parties use it by choice as a means of attempting to resolve their dispute. Arbitration can also be either binding or non-binding. Binding arbitration is final and generally may be appealed only in very limited circumstances in Idaho. One benefit of arbitration is that it can be private. It is often based on a contractual agreement to resolve disputes by arbitration.

Do I need an attorney for arbitration?

Except in extraordinary circumstances the answer to this question is an unqualified YES! An arbitration is virtually the same as a trial in a civil case. You do not want to go to trial without an experienced advocate acting on your behalf.

What happens in arbitration?

The arbitrator initiates the hearing by swearing in the parties and witnesses who will testify. The parties then may give opening arguments and present both documentary and testimonial evidence. The attorneys are allowed to question witnesses and the arbitrator may ask questions if necessary. Rebuttal questions are also allowed.

Is arbitration confidential?

Arbitration hearings, unlike trials, are not open to the public. Everything discussed in the context of the hearing is confidential and any matters disclosed often are not discoverable in future proceedings.

What is AAA?

The American Arbitration Association is a private, non-profit organization that provides procedures for parties to follow in private arbitrations. It also maintains a list of qualified arbitrators with knowledge in specific areas. Although the AAA does nothing to render or enforce arbitration awards, it will assist in the logistics of arbitration hearings by, among other things, providing rules for use in the proceedings. Forrest Goodrum has completed advanced training courses for arbitrators offered by the AAA.