is a process similar to a traditional court proceeding. It is different, however, in that the parties hire a single arbitrator or a panel of three arbitrators to hear and decide their case. In many respects, arbitration is much like engaging the services of a private judge. Because arbitrators are not burdened with an out-of-control case load that most courts encounter, they are better suited to focusing on a single case or just a few cases and moving the process along much faster than a court.
It is significant that arbitrators generally have far more actual authority than a judge in placing restrictions on the scope of a litigation because they can impose reasonable limits on the extensive and expensive document discovery, depositions and motions which have become the bane of a typical court-based lawsuit. More often than not, it takes years before a case gets to trial in court. In arbitration, on the other hand, most cases are heard within a matter of months, even weeks in less complicated disputes. While it may seem that going to court gets the parties a “free” judge, in a well-administered arbitration, the benefits of speed and efficiency in resolving disputes generally outweigh the filing of a case in court and saves substantial legal fees. Following a hearing, the arbitrator makes a decision and, with few exceptions, the case is concluded and not subject to further expensive and lengthy appeals.