Generally, arbitration decisions rendered in private arbitrations are final and binding, subject to very limited court review. There are four major grounds for challenging arbitration awards: fraud, arbitrator bias, arbitrator misconduct, or the arbitrators exceeding their authority. Absent these, decisions can be converted to enforceable judgments. Since appeal rights are so limited, disputes are resolved relatively quickly. However, this can leave a party with little remedy where they feel there are clear legal reasons to object. That’s where an online ADR process that incorporates a fast and affordable online appeal process can be a significant benefit to the parties.
The ability to have an arbitration decision reviewed in certain circumstances is important. ARS decisions are binding, but unlike many other ADR providers, ARS offers an Appeal process when one or more of the parties believes a decision is legally incorrect. Any party may file an appeal of the decision based on one of two reasons: (1) The Arbitrator used the wrong law or legal standard or (2) The Arbitrator used the correct legal standard but applied it incorrectly as to the facts of the case as determined by the Arbitrator. The non-appealing party has the right to respond. On appeal, the matter is referred to an Appellate Panel of online arbitrators who review the matter and render a decision either affirming the original decision or rendering a new one. The entire process is handled online quickly and efficiently.
Once a decision is rendered (or if applicable, a decision on appeal is rendered), payment of any ADR award of damages is due. If a party fails to pay as required by a decision, the award may be converted to judgment and then enforced by the courts. In that situation, as provided in ARS rules, the award against the non-paying party will be increased to cover the expenses incurred by the party who was not paid in converting the award to a judgment.
The finality and speed of arbitration is one of the main reasons that parties choose arbitration to resolve their disputes. However, the addition of an online appeal mechanism enables the parties to keep all the benefits of ADR while adding an extra level of protection against improper decisions.