Litigation is an expensive process that could be financially devastating to any Alberta business. For this reason, many business disputes are resolved through arbitration. The primary difference between the two methods is that a judge orders the resolve in litigation, while arbitration enables the parties to find resolution through a process that suits their individual needs.
Arbitration is a voluntary process to which parties must agree in writing. Each party can have legal counsel present, and they will be in control of the procedural aspects, the choice of the location, timing and which other parties may attend. Arbitration procedures are typically informal without prescribed evidentiary and procedural rules, and it is usually a private process that will remain confidential if both parties so elect.
It is an adjudicative process in which the arbitrator will issue a decision after the presentation of each side's case. However, arbitration is a flexible process in which the disputing parties can choose an arbitrator and also the procedural steps toward reaching a resolution. One of the primary advantages of arbitration is the speed with which disputes can be resolved.
Canada has statues the regulate arbitration, but Alberta might also have its own laws when it comes to this type of resolution for business disputes. Even though there is no litigation involved, business owners would be wise to secure the services of an experienced business and commercial law lawyer. Legal counsel can explain the pros and cons of arbitration to allow the client to make informed decisions, and the lawyer can also provide valuable advocacy throughout ensuing proceedings.