Arbitration in California is an alternative to the traditional lawsuit. It involves an agreement to go to a private professional to settle a dispute between parties. Generally, parties agree to such a procedure by contract before a dispute arises, however, parties can also agree after a dispute arises to go to arbitration instead of filing in court. Arbitration can be agreed to in almost any kind of action: from real estate Tenancy in Common Agreements, to medical and dental malpractice.
Generally, going to arbitration is advantageous in that the process is much quicker than a traditional lawsuit. This is especially true in the San Francisco bay area where most courts, facing budget cuts year-over-year, are simply overwhelmed with lawsuit filings. Arbitration occurs more quickly because the process is (generally speaking) more flexible. However, the flexibility of arbitration also serves as one of the greatest weaknesses to the process: a more flexibility process like arbitration does not necessarily have as many procedural safe guards as the more stilted and cumbersome court proceedings.
Whether Arbitration is right for you in the San Francisco bay area depends upon the specifics of your case. The San Francisco based attorneys of Jones & Devoy have experience in arbitration matters and can advise you on whether it is right for your case.