The process for filing arbitration claims depends first on whether or not the issue you are seeking to have resolved gives you a right to unilaterally initiate arbitration proceedings. Generally, this is a right that is granted through a clause in the contract under which the dispute arose. If the contract does not have an arbitration clause, you must get the opposing party’s written consent to submit the issue to arbitration. After you take care of this preliminary issue, you must find an alternative dispute resolution center that offers arbitration in your jurisdiction. You can usually contact the clerk of courts in your jurisdiction for a listing of certified arbitrators with whom you may file arbitration claims.
The first step in filing arbitration claims is getting authorization to circumvent the court system and resolve the issue with the help of an arbitrator. If the contract that governs the issue you are seeking to resolve does not have a clause that allows you to elect to initiate arbitration, then you should first get express written consent from the opposing party to submit the issue to an arbitrator. You will also want to make sure he or she understands that the arbitrator’s decision will be binding and may want to get an agreement to split any arbitration fees evenly.
If the other party is hesitant to consent to arbitration, you may highlight some of the benefits of arbitration over litigating the issue in the court system. First and foremost, arbitration is less costly and time consuming than litigation. Furthermore, because proceedings are less formal, you generally do not need an attorney to go through arbitration, so you will save even more money on costly attorney’s fees.
After you gain the consent of the opposing party, the next step in filing arbitration claims is to locate an alternative dispute resolution center that handles cases in your jurisdiction. If there is not a particular organization specified in the agreement, then you may contact the clerk of courts in your jurisdiction and he or she will provide you with a list of accredited alternative dispute resolution centers at which you may file arbitration claims. There may be one that specializes in the type of particular dispute in which you are involved.
The exact steps in filing arbitration claims from this point on will vary depending on the alternative dispute resolution center you choose. Generally, there are special forms that you must fill out that depend on the nature of your disagreement. You will likely have to submit these forms along with the contract governing your situation, the written consent of the opposing party if necessary, as well as the applicable fee charged by the center and you will have successfully initiated the arbitration process.