In Alabama, the parties involved in a dispute are encouraged to settle their case outside of the courtroom. These procedures are called alternative dispute resolution. For those involved in construction disputes, Alabama arbitrators are often hired to issue a binding decision in the case. A construction arbitrator has a role that is similar to that of an Alabama trial court judge, but the two processes have significant differences.
Arbitration takes place outside of the courthouse. In many cases, it is scheduled in attorney conference rooms. As opposed to a public trial, arbitration is a private proceeding, and decisions may also be confidential. Most construction companies value this privacy, as the reputation of their business is protected. Simply being named in a lawsuit is often damaging to a company.
A significant benefit of arbitration is that it may be scheduled as soon as the parties are ready to finalize the case. If the parties used the court system, it may take several months to receive a trial date. Even once a trial date is scheduled, it may be postponed for numerous reasons, such as inclement weather or attorney illness. Arbitration allows the parties to resolve their case quickly and efficiently.
In exchange for such a prompt conclusion to the construction dispute, arbitration rules provide that the arbitrator’s decision may only be appealed by the parties in limited circumstances. For parties that simply cannot figure out how to settle their differences, however, a prompt decision in the case is often a relief.