Arbitration is a private forum for resolving legal disputes. Once parties agree to arbitrate a dispute, that choice –in most cases — may be enforced.

The arbitrator’s decision is binding upon the parties. In that sense, arbitration differs most fundamentally from mediation which also is voluntary but does not impose a binding decision upon the parties. A party prevailing in arbitration may convert the arbitration award into a state court judgment by “confirming” the award with the state court and thereby would obtain access to the powerful judgment enforcement arsenal provided by New York law.

Resolving disputes in private binding arbitration offers many advantages including, in some instances, a more streamlined and less expensive process as well as the opportunity to litigate claims in private rather than in open court. The flexibility inherent in arbitration may permit parties to control more aspects of the process — by agreement — than a court would allow. Perhaps most significantly, New York courts afford great deference to an arbitrator’s decision; consequently, the decision of an arbitration panel is usually final. The Federal Arbitration Act, where applicable, requires that where the parties have agreed to arbitrate, they must do so in lieu of going to court.

The arbitration process, however, is not always preferred to litigation in the courts. Arbitration offers limited appeals options, for example, and requires the consent of any party before being forced to participate in that particular forum.

Not infrequently, parties may disagree about whether their dispute must be resolved in arbitration or can proceed in state court. At times, that threshold issue itself must be resolved in arbitration; in other instances, a court would make that determination.

The Law Office of Adam G. Singer, PLLC represents companies and individuals prosecuting — and defending against — claims in arbitration.

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