Arbitration is good for people who know negotiation or mediation is not the way to go and would like to have a result without having to wait or go to court. Most family law cases take between 1 to 3 years to be heard by a judge and many people understandably do not want to wait this long. Arbitration is much faster and somewhat more informal meaning not as much time would be spent on it as you would have to spend if you had to go to court.
An arbitrator is a professional such an experienced senior lawyer or even a judge who will hear your case in a speedy manner and make a decision on your case. Arbitration is very much like litigation and court process, without you having to actually go to court or wait for a judge to hear your case.
Arbitration first started in civil cases such as unions fighting the big powers or personal injury cases. It then expanded to family law. It is not as popular as mediation or settlement conference because an arbitrator’s judgment can often be challenged in court which makes you wonder why you didn’t go to court in the first place. Some people opt out of ever challenging the arbitrator’s decision but that doesn’t happen too often.
Pros and Cons of ARBITRATION
Pros of Arbitration
- Speed: you will obtain a result on your case in a speedy manner – much faster than going to trial because you have to follow many steps such as a JCC, Examinations for Discovery, sometimes Applications, Trial Management Conference, etc. This can take anywhere between 1 to 3 years.
- Arbitration can also be less expensive than having a full trial in the Court because it takes less time and is more informal.
- It is a way to bring your case to an end when there is no chance of settlement or negotiation.
- If the case does come to an end, you can simply draft a consent Order based on the arbitrator’s judgment, file it in Court and put your mind at ease.
Cons of Arbitration
- It is not always final: even when you get a judgement on your case by the arbitrator, you still have the right to go to Court and to trial if you are not happy with the judgement. So some ask, why would you do it in the first place if you cannot rely on it?
- You also have to pay for the Arbitrator’s legal costs which range between $300 to $600 per hour. If you went straight to Court, you would not have to pay for a judge. Arbitration can take anywhere between a few hour to day or weeks.
- You may spend more time and money on arbitration and a possible trial if arbitration is challenged.
Again, it is always best to consult with a BC family lawyer to see what approach you should take given the specific facts of your case. Get in touch with us.