An arbitration hearing may be a better choice than trial for a pro se petitioner (someone representing themselves without a lawyer). Let’s review the advantages and disadvantages of both forums…
Advantages of a Small Claims Trial
- It breaks the deadlock when negotiations stall.
- A judge or jury decides the outcome of your claim.
- Filing fees are often less than the cost of arbitration.
- The court verdict is immediate.
Disadvantages of a Small Claims Trial
- Your case will be moved along as quickly as possible.
- A judge can be curt and short of patience.
- You’ll be limited on the monetary amount you can sue for.
- Either side can appeal the decision to a higher court.
Advantages of Binding Arbitration
- Arbitration breaks the deadlock when negotiations stall.
- The arbitrator may have only one or two hearings per day, and will have plenty of time to hear both sides of the claim.
- The arbitrator is usually very patient.
- The defending attorneys can’t file any legal pleadings to slow the claim down.
- The decision of the arbitrator is final and can’t be appealed.
Disadvantages of Binding Arbitration
- An arbitrator’s fees can be twice as high as the court filing fee.
- The arbitrator’s decision is usually not immediate. You may have to wait a week or more to receive the decision in the mail.
- The arbitrator’s decision is final and can’t be appealed.
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