Arbitration is adjudicatory, as opposed to advisory. In other words, a final decision is entered by the arbitrator (usually a retired judge or attorney) at the end of an arbitration hearing. Unless otherwise agreed to, that decision is final and binding, subject to court review only in very limited circumstances. JAMS maintains lists of available JAMS neutral arbitrators, including those who may have significant experience practicing in the legal area encompassed by your dispute. Parties often select arbitrators on the basis of substantive expertise and reputation. JAMS arbitrators serve strictly as neutrals regardless whether they serve as party-appointed arbitrators serving on a panel where the parties are given the right to have each appoint an arbitrator or as a single or third, non-party appointed, arbitrator.
The choice to arbitrate typically is driven by the parties’ pre-dispute contract. Suggested contract arbitration clauses are available below.* Parties can select JAMS (or another private organization) to “administer” the arbitration process and hearing.
JAMS has Arbitration Rules (see https://www.jamsadr.com/adr-rules-procedures/) under which the arbitration can be conducted if the parties so agree—or the parties can choose to proceed under other agreed rules. Should the parties be unable to agree on a set of rules, generally selection of JAMS (or another organization that provides rules) creates a default to use those rules. (See also under “Submit a Case” more information about arbitration case “administration” and “rules” that apply to arbitrations). The Federal Arbitration Act and state law (and applicable arbitration Rules) generally govern the process.
Arbitration is an alternative to going to court and therefore if pursued, the parties are waiving any right they may have to either a court or jury trial for their dispute. Arbitration is frequently much more limited in “pre-hearing” discovery and process and therefore usually much quicker to a final decision than going to court.
The arbitrator usually receives briefs and documentary evidence, hears testimony, examines and weighs the evidence and then renders an opinion on liability and damages in the form of an “award of the arbitrator.” Once entered, the award is confirmed by a court of appropriate jurisdiction and then can be entered as a judgment.
*For suggested arbitration clauses, see https://www.jamsadr.com/clauses/