According to The New York Times, over the last decade, thousands of businesses across the United States — “from big corporations to storefront shops” — have turned to arbitration to settle disputes. The rise in arbitration can be attributed to the addition of arbitration clauses to millions of contracts — that fine print many don’t read. Arbitration tends to be more favorable to a jury as it can prevent class-action lawsuits and decisions tend to be more favorable for a business than one by a judge or jury.
In the words of retired Judge Faith S. Hochberg, “Litigation takes businesses away from what they do best, which is business, not litigation.” Arbitration is a quicker, more cost-effective way to settle a dispute. She continues:
“Even if they have no control over the outcome, the parties can select arbitrators who are known for their impartiality and ability to understand the dispute. And the parties can agree to reduce the cost of discovery, which is often out of control in the court system, both in terms of speed and expense.”
The arbitration trend is also going global. Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP notes, as global legislative framework that supports and promotes international arbitration develops, it’s matched by a steady increase in arbitrations — between three and five-fold in 25 years.
As long as arbitration offers a “neutral, speedy and expert dispute resolution process, in a single centralized forum, with enforceable dispute resolution agreements and final decisions,” the future for this trial alternative is bright.