Arbitration usually results from a pre-existing agreement between the parties which contains an arbitration clause. Such clauses typically provide that any dispute under the agreement will be resolved through binding arbitration. Arbitration displaces the usual judicial process. An arbitrator, appointed by the parties, assumes the role of a judge in what becomes private litigation. The arbitrator’s award is usually final and may be enforced by a court as if it were the judgment of a court. The arbitration hearing will usually involve the presentation of witnesses and the use of documentary evidence. In many respects the hearing will resemble a trial.
Rules of Evidence are often simplified or modified to speed the presentation of evidence.
Parties involved in any dispute can always choose to agree that their dispute be solved by arbitration. They may do so for various business reasons or to secure finality promptly. Courts ordinarily do not have a legal basis to revise or modify the arbitrator’s award, challenge the arbitrator’s fact-finding or legal conclusions.