The Nationwide Academy for Dispute Resolution Ltd.Stockland Cottage, 11 James Street, Treforest, Pontypridd, Mid-Glam. CF37 1BU. UK.
Tel +44 (0)1443 486122 : Fax +44 (0)1443 404171
Arbitration represents the principal alternative to the court system and is widely used by the construction industry and international commerce. Arbitration provides an attractive second stage in the event of the break down of negotiated settlement.
Arbitration offers the concept of party autonomy. This means that the parties have the right and power to decide many of the procedures that will govern the conduct of their arbitration. Default systems for the conduct of arbitrations are provided by arbitral organisations and by international and domestic arbitration codes. However, the parties can chose to derogate from the default provisions. The parties can decide on the degree of formality they desire, how much time will be allocated to various aspects of the process and how documentation, discovery and the taking of evidence will be handled. Arbitration therefore offers the possibility of informality, speed, cost savings and privacy. Speed and informality are encouraged by the Arbitration Act 1996. However, whilst arbitration is often less expensive than litigation it can be more expensive on times especially if the parties engage in protracted hearings and chose to adopt cumbersome procedures
Arbitration emulates the courts in some respects and has been described as a private court dispute settlement system. It is therefore a more formal procedure than mediation. There are significant differences between arbitration and litigation. Arbitration in the UK under the auspices of NADR, The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the London Court of International Arbitration offers disputing parties considerable benefits especially since the Arbitration Act 1996 became law.
The courts support the arbitral process in a number of ways, in particular in respect of orders for disclosure of information and in the preservation of funds that may be needed to finance an arbitral award. The courts are less likely to interfere with the arbitral process than was the case before the 1996 Act was passed.
Although arbitration is one of the best methods to settle commercial disputes the parties to such proceedings often fail to maintain a commercial relationship following the award. Arbitration is essentially adversarial and judicial in nature and leads to a winner takes all result. In this respect arbitration differs little from litigation.
The New York Convention on Enforcement of Arbitral Awards allows for international enforcement of awards. This is a major advantage compared to the court system.
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