In our busy and workaholic lives, we encounter numerous problems that are related to the law. From someone bumping your car to not getting paid on time, everything involves a certain degree of law. But the conundrum that arises is this – Should we visit the court every time something awful or technical happens to us? The simple answer – NO.
Arbitration & Litigation – Two Sides Of A Coin
If you decide to hire an attorney and present your case in the courtroom, this process is known as litigation. On the contrary, sometimes, you can decide to settle the issue outside the courtroom without the judge and the jury involved. This process is termed as arbitration. Instead of a judge and a jury, an arbitrator is the person who oversees the case and is neutral in his/her decision. Therefore, don’t worry if your boss didn’t pay you on time and you don’t want to go the court. Arbitration might just do the trick for you.
Why Arbitration At All?
A question that is dancing around in many minds is that why settle cases outside the courtroom when there is an official method available? The answer is simple – saving time and in some cases, money. Official lawsuits and court hearings can take from weeks to months and sometimes, years. Arbitration is a quicker process where an arbitrator listens to both the parties and after evidences, gives a final result. Furthermore, lawyer costs are sometimes too much for the laborers and they opt to settle outside the courtroom (arbitration can at times be very expensive too). Hence, some cases, which are not of the highest levels, can be solved through arbitration.
Arbitration vs. Litigation – What Should You Do?
It’s not rocket science really! Opting for arbitration or litigation is a matter of choice as well as nature of the case. A huge money embezzlement or robbery case cannot be solved by arbitration and litigation is mandatory. On the other hand, employee complaints, certain trespassing issues and small accidents can easily be solved through arbitration. Let’s discuss the differences in both procedures in a bit more detail.
- Arbitration is managed by a person called arbitrator who is appointed mutually by both the parties involved. Both the parties share the cost for hiring that arbitrator. In litigation, the state hires a judge who oversees the case and involved parties have no say whatsoever in his/her appointment.
- In Litigation, you have to appear in a courtroom before a judge and in some cases, the jury. Arbitration is clear of such placement criteria and can take place anywhere the involved parties or entities decide.
- Unlike in litigation, you can’t challenge the final result declared by the arbitrator any further. If the arbitrator has given a decision against you, the case is finished. In litigation, you can challenge the case in a higher court if you are not satisfied with the judge’s decision.
- As compared to arbitration, litigation is expensive and time consuming. Lawyer costs, transport costs, and preparing all the necessary documentation is a hectic task. Plus the cases in court can get dragged for ages due to certain factors. Arbitration is quicker and efficient in this case but you do have to pay for the arbitrator’s fee regardless of the final result.
- The scope of arbitration is limited to civil issues only e.g. wages issue, working overtime, minor accidents etc. Litigation covers everything ranging from civil to public to criminal cases. So if you’re a victim or harassment, domestic violence or robbery, litigation is the best option for you.
Confused? – Don’t Be
After this detailed discussion, we won’t mind at all if you’re having second thoughts about what to do. It’s simple because you should decide according to the nature and level of the case. If it’s something trivial or something that you think you’ll be able to solve without hiring an expensive attorney, arbitration is your thing. But if it involves a divorce, child custody or robbery, litigation is your best shot. One can say that litigation is the big fish while arbitration equals to the small fishes enjoying their time in the ocean (As long as the big guy doesn’t eat them up).