Dispute Settlement

What is Arbitration?

In today’s day, a number of civil and commercial disputes are often resolved outside courts. This is typically done to resolve legal issues in a more timely and cost-efficient manner. Often this involves the use of mediation and arbitration.

What Is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a process where the parties agree to come together outside of court to meet with an independent arbitrator or panel of arbitrators to resolve a legal dispute. The arbitration process can either be binding or non-binding and must be agreed upon prior to the arbitration.

When arbitration is binding, the decision of the arbitrator is final and can be enforceable by the courts. When arbitration is non-binding, the arbitrator’s award is advisory only and can only be final if accepted by all parties.

Arbitrators are chosen by the parties so that parties can consent to select an arbitrator that is independently neutral and knowledgeable in the specific subject matter at issue. In some instances, arbitrators can be court-appointed. Arbitrators listen to the position of all parties, review the facts, hear all witnesses and weigh the evidence in rendering their decision.

Arbitration uses the adversarial approach and is similar to traditional litigation. Despite the similarities to traditional litigation, private arbitrations tend to be cheaper and quicker in resolving disputes.

Private arbitration must be mutually agreed to by all parties. This differs from traditional litigation where one party can force the other to litigate the matter in court. In efforts to avoid lengthy and costly court litigations, businesses now often structure agreements with arbitration clauses in place that require parties to engage in private arbitration if a dispute arises.

The presence of legal counsel at arbitration is optional, however, most disputes often involve a high level of technical and legal sophistication, so most individuals opt to have counsel to aid in the process.

In Canada, arbitration is regulated by statute. Every province and territory has its own separate arbitration legislation. At the federal level, commercial arbitration is governed by the Commercial Arbitration Act.

Barring an exception, costs associated with arbitration are typically shared between the parties.

The Benefits of Arbitration:

  1. Greater Control: Parties have a say in choosing an arbitrator, the costs, the location, and/or jurisdiction in which arbitration will take place
  2. Customization: Allowing the parties to choose their arbitrator allows them to pick someone based on their level of understanding and expertise in the subject matter
  3. Confidentiality: The process itself is private & confidential
  4. Speed: Process is typically faster than the courts
  5. Costs: The process is typically cheaper than litigation
  6. The Flexibility: The process is more flexible and involves less formal rules and requirements (i.e. for evidence) when compared to litigation
  7. Finality: The decision is legally binding (if attending binding arbitration)

The downside of arbitrations is that options for appeal are limited and the nature of arrangements being private and confidential offers no precedential value to the common law.

Arbitrators typically consist of highly trained and experienced professionals such as lawyers, or professionals specially trained in arbitration.

How On The Record (OTR) Can Assist You With Arbitrations

Are you trying to resolve disputes during COVID-19? On The Record (OTR) conference room rental and court reporting can help. While Ontario courts are still closed and operating on a modified basis for urgent matters, this leaves lawyers, mediators, and arbitrators needing to quickly adapt to a new era of online conferencing and meetings.

With a number of court services being continually done virtually through the use of online meetings, we remain committed to our clients and will continue to provide the same quality service online.

We can schedule your examinations, discoveries, hearings, and mediations as we offer:

  1. Zoom meetings
  2. Microsoft Team Meetings
  3. Our team members are here to schedule your proceedings
  4. All proceedings are held in the comfort of your home or office
  5. Our court reporters and IT teams are available to assist you with the technical aspects of using the video conference software

To book a conference room for a meeting, arbitration or to discuss a court reporting position with On The Record, call one of our locations today, conveniently located in Whitby and Barrie. We look forward to discussing your court reporting needs.


[1] https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/csj-sjc/dprs-sprd/res/drrg-mrrc/06.html

[2] https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/wr04443.html

[3] https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/csj-sjc/dprs-sprd/res/drrg-mrrc/06.html

*This blog was co-authored by Law Student Amar Gill*