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Dispute Resolution Options: Arbitration

Is Arbitration Right For You?

Arbitration is a binding process in which disputing parties present their case to an independent, qualified individual (the “Arbitrator”) who renders a decision on the matters in issue based on the evidence and testimony presented. The parties agree in advance to be bound by the Arbitrator’s decision and execute an Arbitration Agreement. Arbitration ultimately results in the Arbitrator issuing a binding decision through an Arbitration Award. Although it’s not possible to litigate once an Arbitration Agreement has been executed, an Arbitration Award is subject to appeal to the Alberta Court of Appeal.

Advantages of Arbitration

The advantages for Arbitration are as follows:

  • EFFICIENCY – Arbitration can be commenced within a relatively short period of time, usually within a few months. This is in stark contrast to litigation, which takes an absolute minimum of one year and generally in excess of 18 months.
  • COST – Arbitration can be very cost effective, in comparison to lengthy litigation proceedings. Lawyers are paid by the amount of time spent on a file and therefore, lengthy litigation tends to be exceedingly expensive.
  • GUARANTEED RESULT – An independent third-party will render a decision, as such, there is a guarantee that you will end your dispute in a relatively timely manner.
  • SELECTING YOUR DECISION-MAKER – In Arbitration, the parties select the Arbitrator. When you go to Court you get whatever Justice happens to be assigned to the court room, which means that your matter may be heard by a Justice that has never practiced family law.
  • CONSISTENCY – Litigation involves numerous court appearances, all of which are before different Justices. Arbitration involves one independent third party who will hear your entire matter. As a result, there is consistency in decisions, familiarity with the issues, background and parties, which also helps reduce costs by lawyers not having to reiterate the same information over and over.

Disadvantages of Arbitration

The main disadvantage of arbitration is that it is only available if both parties agree and sign a Mediation / Arbitration Agreement binding them to the process. However, once that agreement is executed, it is a binding process. Even if one party chooses not to participate, a final resolution can be achieved.

Our senior divorce lawyers have extensive experience representing clients in arbitration and also act as arbitrators and render binding decisions pursuant to the Arbitration Act. If you would like to learn more, connect with us to set up an initial consultation.