Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution process in which a neutral third party known as an arbitrator decides how a legal dispute should be resolved, much like a trial judge or jury. Sometimes parties elect to have a panel of arbitrators (usually three) decide their case by a majority decision. In arbitration, the parties have an opportunity to present their facts, offer evidence and witness testimony, and make legal arguments. After considering the merits of the case, the arbitrator will make a decision for the parties.
There exists in North Carolina a strong public policy which favors the settling of disputes by arbitration. There are several state laws which govern the use of arbitration in various types of controversies and, historically, the process has been employed to resolve, most frequently, commercial and consumer disagreements. In 1999, the North Carolina Family Law Arbitration Act was enacted in order to extend the use of arbitration to family law issues other than the divorce itself.
Generally, arbitration is a voluntary and usually binding process which occurs outside of the supervision of the court and pursuant to a written agreement entered into by the parties or a court order that is entered with the consent of the parties. The agreement or order normally contains an explanation of the duties of the parties to resolve their legal dispute, and specifies a procedure for selecting the arbitrator and conducting a hearing. The parties may agree to use arbitration either before or after a lawsuit has been filed.Arbitration has certain distinct advantages. It can be used after initial settlement attempts or mediation has failed and it can insure the resolution of disputed matters in a manner which may be more expeditious and less expensive than having a trial that is held before a judge or jury. Additionally, the parties choose their own arbitrator by mutual agreement. This can provide greater confidence in the decision resolution process because the parties have the ability to select a respected decision maker who is knowledgeable in the subject matter with which they are involved and who, unlike a judge, is not influenced by such pressures as a heavy trial docket. Moreover, the arbitration can be conducted in a private, neutral environment which affords the parties a greater degree of privacy and confidentiality as opposed to a public courtroom.
In addition, in using this form of alternative dispute resolution, the parties are able to set their own rules for the procedure of the arbitration hearing, including what conditions of privacy will apply. They can also specify where and when the hearing will be held which makes the process more convenient and less stressful.
While it is a more adversarial process than mediation, arbitration still has the advantage of fostering less contentiousness than litigation, thus preserving a more positive working relationship between the participants for the future.
Retired Chief District Court Judge Gary Cash is available to assist parties as an arbitrator. His many years of experience on the bench have provided him with a deep understanding of the complex issues and disputes that individuals struggle with in a variety of situations, significant knowledge of what the potential and preferable solutions to those differences are, and a great respect for the rights of individuals to differ and to be heard. Judge Cash has an office in Buncombe County (Asheville), North Carolina and he is available to travel to other areas throughout North Carolina, including Madison County, Mitchell County, Yancey County, Avery County, Watauga County, Burke County, McDowell County, Henderson County, Haywood County, Rutherford County, and Transylvania County.
If you are interested in scheduling an arbitration, please use the online calendar to view dates that Judge Cash is available. Click on the date that you would like to schedule your arbitration and then complete the Online Appointment Request form to initiate the scheduling process.