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Can I arbitrate my franchise dispute?

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Smart franchise owners realized that avoiding litigation is good for the bottom line and for business relationships. This is why many franchise owners are turning to alternative means of dispute resolution to avoid the courtroom.

One very popular method of alternative dispute resolution is arbitration. According to FindLaw, you can choose to arbitrate almost any dispute so long as the other party agrees to the process.

What makes arbitration different?

One of the most salient characteristics of arbitration is that it is very much like going to court, just without the going to court part. In fact, arbitration may end up looking and sounding very much like a courtroom. Instead of a judge, there will be an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators. It is possible for lawyers to be a part of arbitration in order to provide legal counsel during the process. In most cases, the decisions the arbitrator or panel makes are binding, just like the decision of a judge.

The major difference between arbitration and litigation is that with arbitration you get to choose who the arbitrators are. You can also dictate your own rules for how the arbitration precedes, whereas with litigation the legal process is far more strict.

Can I arbitrate anything?

As long as the dispute is not criminal in nature, you may choose to arbitrate any civil proceeding. However, your desire to arbitrate does not outweigh the other party’s desire to go to court if they wish. You are not able to prevent the other party from taking the matter to court.

However, if both parties are amenable to arbitration, you may find that it is a much more streamlined and affordable approach to managing inevitable business disputes.