Arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), is a way to resolve disputes outside the judiciary courts. The dispute will be decided by one or more persons (the ‘arbitrators’, ‘arbiters’ or ‘arbitral tribunal’), which renders the ‘arbitration award’. An arbitration decision or award is legally binding on both sides and enforceable in the courts, unless all parties stipulate that the arbitration process and decision are non-binding.
Arbitration is often used for the resolution of commercial disputes, particularly in the context of international commercial transactions. In certain countries such as the United States, arbitration is also frequently employed in consumer and employment matters, where arbitration may be mandated by the terms of employment or commercial contracts and may include a waiver of the right to bring a class action claim. Mandatory consumer and employment arbitration should be distinguished from consensual arbitration, particularly commercial arbitration.
There are limited rights of review and appeal of arbitration awards. Arbitration is not the same as: judicial proceedings (although in some jurisdictions, court proceedings are sometimes referred as arbitrations), alternative dispute resolution (ADR), expert determination, mediation (a form of settlement negotiation facilitated by a neutral third party).