Tag Archives: Online arbitration

The Difference Between Arbitration and Mediation Explained

17 Apr

Most people have likely heard the terms Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Arbitration, and Mediation mentioned in different contexts, but many may not know exactly what they are and how they differ.

“Alternative Dispute Resolution” is generally any procedure for settling disputes by means other than litigation. “Arbitration” and “Mediation” are two types of ADR; although not the only two. There are also different forms of arbitration, such as Baseball Arbitration, and different forms of mediation.

The end-game of mediation and arbitration is the same, that is, to have the disputing parties resolve their dispute and evidence the terms of that resolution or settlement in writing. The major difference is the way in which that goal is achieved.

 

What is Mediation?

Mediation is an informal process where an impartial third-party helps the disputing parties find a mutually satisfactory solution to their differences. Mediation is a voluntary, confidential extension of the negotiation  process where a facilitator guides the parties toward a mutually agreeable settlement. This is achieved by helping the parties clarify their underlying interests and concerns, and encouraging compromise and trade-offs based on the relative importance of each item to each party.

Mediation is usually well-suited to disputing parties who still have a somewhat amicable relationship, who are still able to negotiate, and who do not want a third-party to make final decisions.

Mediators cannot impose a resolution upon the parties since they are not able to make legally-binding decisions. Any settlement reached, if in fact one is reached, is simply a contract signed by the parties just like any other contract. The settlement does not have the same legal force as an “Award” which results from arbitration.

 

What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a procedure whereby two or more parties agree to have an unbiased, neutral, third-party (or third-parties) act as judge and jury to resolve their dispute for them in private, outside of the court system.

It is a simplified version of a trial involving limits on procedural requirements and simplified rules of evidence. After giving the parties the opportunity to present their side of the story and to present any relevant documents or other evidence, the arbitrator(s) decide, based on the evidence, who wins and who loses the case. Arbitrators have more flexibility than court judges to decide how the arbitration should proceed and what weight to give evidence. The parties typically agree to abide by a particular arbitral institution’s existing rules and procedures – such as those used by eQuibbly.com or the American Arbitration Association or JAMS arbitration.

If the parties agree in advance to “binding arbitration“, the decision of the arbitrators, called an “Award”, is enforceable in a court of law if the losing party does not comply with the terms of the decision.  If the parties agree in advance to “non-binding arbitration”, the decision is not enforceable in a court of law. Binding arbitration is more comparable to litigation than is mediation. One important difference is that, unlike court decisions, arbitration offers limited rights of appeal after a decision is made by the arbitrator.

Many contracts, including some consumer contracts like your cell phone service contract or credit card application, have a clause that requires disputes arising out of that contract be subject to binding arbitration rather than being litigated in court. This helps companies keep their costs down and keep their disputes private.

 

 

Sources:
http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/alternative_dispute_resolution http://www.okbar.org/public/brochures/confbroc.htm
http://www.nolo.com
http://www.adr.org

Now Official Court Judges can Decide Your Case Online

10 Apr

eQuibbly Relaunch

Online Arbitration RelaunchAfter many months of quietly re-engineering our web app and our services, we are very pleased to announce the grand re-launch of eQuibbly.com with new features, new services and a revamped user interface that will make it much easier to use.

Now you can pay one low flat-fee for a former Official Trial Judge to arbitrate your dispute online and, within two weeks, hand down a legally-binding decision that is enforceable in a court of law in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia and South Africa. It doesn’t matter where the parties to the dispute are located since arbitration laws in these countries allow for cross-border enforcement of the judgment.

eQuibbly now specializes in online arbitration at very affordable rates conducted by highly qualified Judges who have presided over trial courts in the U.S. and Canada. The whole process takes place online in one secure location where the parties explain their disagreement, upload evidence, answer the Judge’s questions, and receive an official written judgment. It is a simple, private, convenient and cost-effective way for individuals and companies to resolve disputes without the aggravation and expense of litigation.

To learn more about how eQuibbly can resolve your dispute – whether large or small – go to our How It Works page and our Pricing page and find a plan that works for you.

If you have any questions about eQuibbly’s new service, please contact us by chat, phone, or email found at the bottom of our home page. We also appreciate any comments.

Thank you,

Lance Soskin
President, eQuibbly

Cost of Small Claims Court vs. Online Arbitration

9 Apr

Going to court is expensive and not at all fun

There is a common misconception that using small claims court is an easy, quick and cheap way of resolving a dispute. The reality is that it is not easy, nor quick, nor cheap.

Although there are many other compelling reasons to use online dispute resolution rather than small claims court, one of the most significant is the cost savings. Even when attorneys are not used, there are simply more costs associated with trying to resolve your dispute in small claims court. It should be noted, however, that it is extremely difficult to provide an accurate cost of going to court since many costs depend on the actions and decisions of the other party and the judge. It also depends on how “cost” is defined. It should be noted that rules and procedures vary by State and specific jurisdiction where your case is heard.

Filing Fees

To file a suit in small claims court, both the plaintiff and the defendant will need to pay a filing fee. The amount varies from about $15 to $200 depending on the jurisdiction as well as the dollar value being claimed. The plaintiff pays to file the statement of claim and the defendant pays to file the statement of defense.

Attorney’s Fees

Some jurisdictions do not allow attorneys in small claims court. Even so, since failure to adhere to the court’s complicated procedures and technical rules could leave one at a disadvantage, to have the best chance of winning, consulting with an attorney beforehand would be prudent. For a decent attorney you should expect to pay at least $250 per hour and often more. Assuming a two-hour consult, that is at least $500.

Your Time

Time is money. Reading and understanding the rules and procedures, and completing all the forms correctly, often takes longer than one might expect. One example is the requirement in most jurisdictions that certain documents be notarized or signed in front of a person authorized to take oaths and affirmations—typically a lawyer, a court clerk, or a licensed Notary. Assuming you value your time at $40 per hour, disregarding all other out-of-pocket expenses, the cost of your time alone can be seen below:

 Event

Time Required

Cost

Filing Suit
(travel to court to file suit and for trial, waiting in line, filling out forms, signing forms in front of a notary)

10 hours

$400

Supporting Your Case
(collecting evidence, finding witnesses, serving defendant)

4 hours

$160

Attorney Consultation

2 hours

$80

Reviewing claim closer to trial
(since the trial will be months after the incident and months after you filed the claim you won’t remember the details)

3 hours

$120

Attending Trial
(You’re not given a specific time – you’re given a window of time where you must be in court waiting for your case to be heard)

4 hours

$160

TOTAL

23 hours

$920

These costs above do not take in to consideration the additional time that will be required if the defendant does not show up in court on the scheduled day and later asks the court to re-open the case for trial. Nor if the defendant does show up but asks for an adjournment to a later date. In some jurisdictions there also is a mandatory pre-trial hearing or mediation where the parties must meet with a representative of the court to discuss the case and determine whether the issue can be settled without a trial.

Time Off Work

In most instances it will be necessary to attend court during the work week, both to file the initial paperwork and for the trial, and possibly to attend a pre-trial hearing. This requires time off work on two or three days–this could be anywhere from five hours to ten hours. Assuming an hourly wage of $40, that is between $200 and $400 of lost wages.

Formal Notices

When a lawsuit is filed, the defendant must be given formal notice in writing that they are being sued along with all the paperwork and supporting evidence. In most jurisdictions, the plaintiff will have to bear this cost which could be upwards of $30 to $100 for a courier or licensed process server.

Total Cost of Small Claims Court

Based on the assumptions above and depending on the circumstances and the value a person places on their time, litigating a case in small claims court could cost anywhere from $100 to $2,000, if that person is self-represented. If an attorney is retained, it will probably cost at least $2,000 more since it is unlikely an attorney would accept a case for less given the responsibilities and liabilities.

Other Possible Costs and Points of Note

There are other possible costs. They are not typical, but circumstances may dictate they be incurred. For instance, since written witness statements are not usually acceptable in court, if the testimony of a witness is needed, he or she will have to attend the trial and their expenses and a small fee will have to be paid. The other party may also bring a ‘motion’ for one reason or another that may require another day in court at a later time. In some jurisdictions there is also the slight possibility that at the end of the trial the judge may grant the defendant an appeal which would mean another attendance in court for both parties. It should also be noted that small claims judgments are public information and could appear on your credit report, affecting your credit rating.

 

eQuibbly offers an alternative to small claims court litigation. eQuibbly offers a simple, private, and cost-effective way for individuals and companies to resolve disputes without the aggravation and expense of litigating in small claims court. A former trial Judge will conduct an arbitration online and after hearing the case, hand down a legally-binding decision that is enforceable in a court of law.

 

Sources:

http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/small_claims
http://consumer-law.lawyers.com/US-Small-Claims-Court/Small-Claims-Court-In-Your-State.html
http://www.jud.ct.gov/faq/smallclaims.html
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/ithaca/city/webpageguidetosmallclaims.html

EXCITING CHANGES ARE COMING SOON TO EQUIBBLY TO HELP YOU RESOLVE YOUR DISPUTES

16 Jan

STAY TUNED !

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