This guide will give you a step by step tool to confirm an arbitration award with the court.
Obtaining an Arbitration Award
Once arbitration has been ordered by a court or is dictated by a contract between the parties, you submit yourself to the jurisidiction of the arbitrator and agree to be bound by the arbitration award, whatever that may be. The arbitration process differs from court in that you have an opportunity to strike up to three arbitrators until you reach an agreement as to who will preside over the arbitration. Additionally, any conflicts, potential conflicts, and prior relationships between the parties, attorneys and arbitrator are disclosed to the parties before the arbitration commences. Once commenced, the arbitrator will schedule a scheduling conference via telephone with the lawyers and details about how the proceeding will continue are discussed. For example, discussions about whether depositions will be required are discussed and planned for as well as the full discovery period. Once discovery is fully complete, the parties appear with their witnesses and evidence at the final arbitration hearing and the arbitrator hears the entire case. Once heard, the arbitrator often asks for briefing from the lawyers post arbitration hearing to address any legal issues raised by the hearing. Shortly thereafter, the arbitrator renders a written opinion and award and submits the same to the parties. It is then that it becomes the prevailing parties responsibility to confirm the arbitration award with the presiding court or a court within the county the arbitration occurred.
Confirming an Arbitration Award with a Presiding Court
If a court ordered the parties to arbitrate, it remains the presiding court over the arbitration throughout the entire arbitration proceeding. Likewise, it is the only court that confirm the arbitration award for the prevailing party as it has jurisdiction over the arbitration proceeding. As such, the prevailing party must file the arbitration award with the presiding court and ask that it be confirmed. The opposing party may contest the arbitration award for, inter alia, fraud or some other bias if it believes the arbitration was unfair. If that happens, a hearing in the district court is had and the presiding judge is left to decide whether or not to confirm the arbitration award or remand the case back to the arbitrator for further proceedings.
Additional resources provided by the author
There are many sources of information that provide reliable arbitration information including JAMS, AAA, and IAA.
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