- Arbitration is where an impartial person who looks at the evidence and makes a decision on a dispute
- Acas have an Arbitration which can be used to decide cases of alleged unfair dismissal or claims under the flexible working legislation.
- It can be an alternative to a tribunal but it is voluntary so both sides must agree to abide by the arbitrator’s decision.
- Arbitration is often used for collective employment related disputes or it can be used to settle individual disputes.
Arbitration is an impartial outsider being asked to make a decision on a dispute. The arbitrator makes a decision on a case based on the evidence presented by both sides. Arbitration is voluntary, so both sides must agree to go; they should also agree in advance that they will abide by the arbitrator’s decision.
Arbitration can be seen as an alternative to a court of law as it has rules and procedures such as disclosure of documents, evidence and so on. But arbitration is private rather than public. Unlike a court, in an arbitration hearing the Arbitrator will ask the questions. There is no formal cross-examination.
Arbitration is often used in collective employment related disputes, let me give you an example if a trade union is in dispute with an employer for example over the annual pay rise, the union could agree with the employer to ask Acas to appoint an independent arbitrator from there panel of arbitrators to hear the two sides’ cases and then make an independent and impartial decision.
Arbitration can also be used to settle individual disputes. Let me give you an example, an individual and an employer might decide to go to arbitration to avoid the stress and expense of an Employment Tribunal, however, as with any workplace dispute, it is important to make use of all internal procedures that you have in to try to resolve the issue before to Acas conciliation to arbitration.
Hearings will normally last about half a day, although the arbitrator has power to adjourn if necessary. The arbitrator can also call a preliminary hearing in extreme cases, this is where the arbitrator feels that there may be considerable differences between the parties, for example over the provision of documents or the availability of someone called to speak at the hearing.