You may have heard someone talk about “going to arbitration” or “having something arbitrated.” This might have been on the news, or something a friend said to you, or you may have read my forced arbitration post from last month. But to be honest, you didn’t know what that really meant. That’s pretty normal: most people go through their entire lives without ever arbitrating anything.
Arbitration can come up in many different contexts – much of the paperwork for bank accounts, credit cards, and even the user agreement for iTunes, contain arbitration agreements. If you don’t believe me, try digging through any long complicated paperwork you have looking for the work Arbitration. See?
Basically, arbitration is one way that parties in a dispute, whether they are individuals, companies or something else, can resolve that dispute (usually a legal dispute) without going to trial. An arbitrator is a third-party hired to help resolve the dispute between the parties involved. One or more arbitrators listens to the facts and reviews any evidence the parties have and then issues a decision. Pretty simple, right? There’s more to it: details on arbitration and the agreements that lead to it will be discussed next week.
Photo by franky242