What are the benefits of using Arbitration?
If you are filing a complaint in Allegheny County, you have the choice of having your case proceed before a Judge or to have it resolved using Arbitration. Arbitration is a type of ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution). Arbitration can be extremely beneficial in some cases. However, it is important to note that Arbitration isn’t proper for every case.
Arbitration is only proper if the amount in controversy is within the Arbitration limit. Each county in Pennsylvania sets their Arbitration limit. In Allegheny County, arbitration is only permitted for cases where the disputed amount is less than $35,000. As opposed to Westmoreland County where arbitration can only be used if the amount in controversy is less than $30,000. It is important to remember that each county is different and you first need to determine if your case is proper for Arbitration.
If your case is proper for Arbitration, there are benefits to using Arbitration as opposed to proceeding before a Judge and resorting to lengthy litigation.
First, Arbitration tends to be faster than the trial process. When you file your initial complaint with the Department of Court Records, your case will be assigned an Arbitration date, which will be the date your case will be heard. This date is usually set several months out giving you time to prepare your case. This date can always be changed at a later day if you need additional time. However, your date is set and you don’t have to wait months to get an assigned date to present your case.
Second, the Arbitration process is more informal that the process of litigation. On your Arbitration date, you will report to the assigned location given to you when you filed your complaint. You will check in and wait for all the parties to arrive. Once all the parties have arrived and it is your turn, you will be ushered into a room where three arbitrators sit at a table. You will sit across from the panel of arbitrators.
It is important to note that arbitrators are NOT judges. Arbitrators are licensed attorneys who are appointed to hear cases selected for Arbitration.
After you sit down, all testifying parties will be sworn in by one of the arbitrators. Once all testifying parties are sworn in, each side will present their case to the panel. The panel may ask supplemental questions to better understand the case. After each side has finished presenting their case, you will exit the room and the arbitrators will render a decision.
The arbitrators will then mail their decision to each respective party. The third benefit of Arbitration is that arbitrators generally render a decision within a few days. Therefore, each party will likely receive the arbitrator’s decision within a week or so.
The fourth benefit is that if either party is dissatisfied with the arbitrators’ decision, they have the right to appeal within 30 days from the issuance of the decision. Arbitration is not a final order and can be appealed. S you still have the option of proceeding before a Judge.