Arbitration is similar to going to court, but is usually faster, cheaper and less complex than litigation. It is a formal alternative to litigation in which two or more parties select a neutral third party, called an arbitrator, to resolve a dispute. The arbitrator’s decision, called an award, is final and binding. By arbitrating a claim you cannot have the same matter decided by a court of law. In resolving disputes through arbitration, a FINRA arbitrator or panel (consisting of three arbitrators) will listen to the arguments set forth by the parties, study the testimonial and/or documentary evidence, and then render a decision. When an arbitration case goes to a hearing, it can take up to 16 months for an award to be determined.
The arbitration hearing is similar to that of a trial. The Parties have opening statements, present and cross exam witnesses, introduce documents into evidence and have closing arguments. The arbitration panel renders an award after deliberations.