It depends. I don’t subscribe to the view that arbitration is always a better venue for any certain type of case or litigant. For me, a case by case approach is the more appropriate way to determine whether arbitration or trial is the better forum. Points for consideration:
1. Arbitration is faster. This is almost always true. Not only will the case be heard sooner, but there is no post-trial or appellate process to protract the disposition of the case.
2. Arbitration is cheaper. This is often true. The primary reason why arbitration may be cheaper is because the litigants are limited in the pretrial aspects of litigation. Most notably, discovery is limited in arbitration. The parties, therefore, may minimize the substantial cost of discovery. On the other hand, administrative costs and arbitrator’s fees can be very costly. So this factor really does require a more careful analysis of the individual case.
3. Arbitration is more convenient. This is usually true. The litigants have far more say in scheduling in an arbitration. This can be a significant benefit, particularly to a corporate litigant with witnesses in multiple locations.
4. Arbitration is private. This is true. Unlike courts, where the public is permitted to attend trial and court filings are available on the internet, what happens in arbitration stays in arbitration. In fact, there may not even be a transcript of the proceedings.
Hopefully, an analysis of these factors will make it apparent to you which forum is better for your case. Ultimately, the decision comes down to an assessment of where you believe you can maximize your chances for a good result.