Why Arbitrate?

Arbitration is a way to resolve disputes efficiently. Promoted as a way to resolve disputes, time and cost efficiently, proponents of Arbitration commonly point to a number of advantages it offers over litigation, court hearings, and trials.  

Avoids hostility
Because the parties in an Arbitration are usually encouraged to participate fully and sometimes even to help structure the hearing at the preliminary meeting and the resolution at the hearing, they are often more likely to work together peaceably rather than escalate their angst and hostility toward one another, as is often the case in litigation where the parties hide behind lawyer letters and barrister gowns.
Usually cheaper than litigation
Litigation is more costly as it is more adversarial and about interpretation of the law. It is not unusual, for example, for a trial to cost parties $7,000 to $10,000 per day in court and for trials to take 2 or 3 weeks. While parties in Arbitrations will also need lawyers to help them through the process, adding to their costs the number of issues to be referred to the Arbitrator will be less. Still, resolving a case through Arbitration is usually far less costly than proceeding through litigation because the process is quicker and generally less complicated than a court proceeding.
Faster than litigation
According to a recent study by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services, the average time from filing to decision was about 475 days in an Arbitrated case, while a similar case took from 18 months to three years to wind its way through the courts.
Unlike trials, which must be worked into overcrowded court calendars, Arbitration hearings can usually be scheduled around the needs and availabilities of those involved, including weekends and evenings.
Simplified rules of evidence and procedure
The often convoluted rules of evidence and procedure do not apply in Arbitration proceedings — making them less stilted and more easily adapted to the needs of those involved. Importantly, Arbitration dispenses with the procedure called discovery that involves taking and answering interrogatories, depositions, and requests to produce documents — often derided as a delaying and game-playing tactic of litigation. In Arbitrations, most matters, such as who will be called as a witness and what documents must be produced, are handled with a simple phone call.
Arbitration proceedings are generally held in private. And parties sometimes agree to keep the proceedings and terms of the final resolution confidential. Both of these safeguards can be really important if the subject matter of the dispute might cause some embarrassment or reveal private information, such as a company’s client list.
For many commercial and family law property settlement disputes, arbitration is often the best alternative where relationships need to be ongoing. The Arbitrator communicates with the lawyers and the parties in a transparent and effective way, managing the levels of co-operation and helpfulness to proceed to the hearing in the quickest time frame.
Client focused lawyers want the best possible outcome for their clients based on the law.  Arbitration requires the services of solicitors and counsel to prepare the case with the necessary evidence for an effective and fair outcome. It is the lawyers who represent you at the planning meeting to make the important decisions on how the Arbitration will be conducted and on what basis and during the Arbitration hearing to give the evidence and make submissions to the arbitrator. Clients observing the lawyers working professionally with the Arbitrator efficiently builds a good rapport between clients and their lawyers and a reputation for resolving disputes efficiently and effectively without courts.
After Arbitration it is done and dusted, not everything is a legal dispute that needs to be at odds or objectionable.  You are the one who knows what can be agreed and what needs an independent decision by someone you respect and can trust.  If you don’t want to be the one who decides or you need an independent decision maker then you know that after the final decision is made that the Award that is published it is binding and enforceable and the case is over.

SHAW Arbitration Awards

When we decide through Arbitration, we publish an Award and the reasons for the Award.  This is legally binding.

Our Awards are a similar standard of a judicial officer’s reasons to avoid any challenge to adequacy of the reasons.  We ensure that all the relevant issues are dealt with comprehensively.  Our reasons explain why some evidence is accepted and other evidence was rejected because we believe you are entitled to know.  We avoid bare conclusions.

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Alison Shaw of SHAW Mediation successfully mediated a contract and building works dispute for one of our clients.  I found the mediation to be useful in requiring the disputing parties to be in one place at one time, allowing each side to express their position (and even vent their frustrations) whilst being kept in line by an experienced mediator. It was by no means certain to me beforehand that the matter would resolve at the mediation, but Alison’s guidance and systematic approach facilitated a commercial settlement.  I am confident the parties would not have reached a better outcome if they had gone to court.  I rate highly the mediation process used by Alison Shaw in this matter, and would recommend her to other clients considering mediation in the future.

Matthew Hawke

Cowell Clarke