Should Your Contract Mandate Arbitration?

By Fredrick P. Niemann, a New Jersey Contract Attorney

Arbitration can be the best option among competing alternatives for addressing disputes in your contract. Here are some reasons you may want to include an arbitration clause in your contract.

1. The rules and conduct of the arbitration hearing can be negotiated by the parties and memorialized in the contract. Testimony can be required to be taken under oath, and the parties can decide whether a transcript of the hearing should be made and allocate the expense for its preparation. Most parties omit transcripts in an arbitration proceeding but they are really helpful during a lengthy and complicated proceeding.

2. Most arbitration agreements do not require the arbitrator to follow the rules of evidence, but the parties can require the adherence to the NJ rules of evidence and thereby make the proceeding more formal and judge like. If so, the agreement should address what rules of evidence will apply and whether the arbitrator will have the discretion to relax some or all of the evidence rules, just like a judge
3. The arbitration agreement can specify the manner in which the decision of the arbitrator will be made. For example, the agreement can mandate whether the arbitrator will simply state his or her conclusion or provide a written statement of findings of fact, conclusion of law and the reasons for the decision. An award without a statement of reasons requires less time and is less costly; to the losing party it will be very upsetting. A statement of the reasons why the arbitrator came to his or her decision can be as simple as a recitation of factual findings.

4. How long the arbitrator will have to make a decision and the manner in which the decision will be communicated to the parties and their attorneys can also be specified in the arbitration agreement.

Contact me personally today to discuss the benefits of arbitration in your contract. I am easy to talk to, very approachable and can offer you practical, legal ways to handle your concerns. You can reach me toll free at (855) 376-5291 or e-mail me at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com. Please also visit our NJ Arbitration site at www.njarbitrationlawattorney.com for useful information about arbitration law.