Arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), is a technique for the resolution of disputes outside the courts.  The parties to a dispute refer it to arbitration by one or more persons (the “arbitrators”, “arbiters” or “arbitral tribunal”), and agree to be bound by the arbitration decision (the “award”). A third party reviews the evidence in the case and imposes a decision that is legally binding on both sides and enforceable in the courts.

Arbitration can be either voluntary or mandatory (although mandatory' arbitration can only come from a statute or from a contract that is voluntarily entered into, where the parties agree to hold all existing or future disputes to arbitration, without necessarily knowing, specifically, what disputes will ever occur) and can be either binding or non-binding. Non-binding arbitration is similar to mediation in that a decision cannot be imposed on the parties.

However, the principal distinction is that whereas a mediator will try' to help the parties find a middle ground on which to compromise, the (non-binding) arbitrator remains totally removed from the settlement process and will only give a determination of liability and, if appropriate, an indication of the quantum of damages payable. By one definition arbitration is binding and non-binding arbitration is therefore technically not arbitration.

Arbitration is a proceeding in which a dispute is resolved by an impartial adjudicator whose decision the parties to the dispute have agreed, or legislation has decreed, will be final and binding.

  • judicial proceedings, although in some jurisdictions, court proceedings are sometimes referred as
  • alternative dispute resolution (ADR)
  • expert determination
  • mediation (a form of settlement negotiation facilitated by a neutral third party)
  • In contest to litigation, where one cannot "choose the judge", arbitration allows the parties to choose their own tribunal. This is especially useful when the subject matter of the dispute is highly technical: arbitrators with an Appropriate degree of expertise (for example, quantity surveying expertise, in the case of a conduction dispute, or expertise in commercial property law, in the case of a real estate dispute can be chosen
  • Arbitration is often faster than litigation in court.
  • Arbitral proceedings and an arbitral award are generally non-public, and can be made confidential.