For many Georgia business owners, the last thing they want to do is go to court over an issue. In some cases, those issues could be internal disputes between partners or shareholders, and going through litigation may seem like something that would cause a rift rather than help reach a resolution. While litigation certainly has its place, alternative dispute resolution methods like arbitration may better suit some cases.
Arbitration is still a formal legal process, but it often takes less time and less money than full blown litigation. A brief overview of the process involves the following steps:
- All parties agree to arbitration.
- The individuals involved choose the arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators.
- The dispute is brought before the unbiased third party.
- The parties involved present their evidence and arguments to the arbitrator at a hearing.
- The arbitrator offers an opinion on how to resolve the matter.
- The decision made by the arbitrator is binding.
If taking this route seems more favorable than litigation or other dispute methods, business owners and partners may consider putting an arbitration clause in their contracts. This clause would ensure that should a dispute arise, both parties already agree to using this alternative dispute resolution method to address the matter. It may be worth noting that these clauses could be challenged if one party later believes that an issue deserves litigation.
Though arbitration takes less time and less money than other dispute resolution methods, it is still a legal process. As a result, Georgia business owners involved in any dispute may still benefit from consulting with their legal counsel throughout the process. Their attorneys could ensure that they understand how the process works, how they can best present evidence and more.