Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) carried out in line with the Arbitration Act 1996. It is a cost effective, speedier and a less formal alternative to resolving your dispute through the courts. It is conducted privately based upon written documentation and evidence.
An arbitrator is a neutral person who makes a legal and binding decision (“Award”) after considering the evidence that both the Claimant and Respondent submits. The role of an arbitrator is similar to that of a judge and the award will be conducted fairly and neutrally. The arbitrator has wide discretion to determine the way in which the case will run. Arbitration is a legal process and the Arbitrator must make their decision based on the law.
The Award is the document with the decision that the Arbitrator produces once they have considered all the evidence. You and the Respondent are legally bound by the Arbitrator’s decision, which is enforceable in the courts if either party does not comply with it, subject to any provisions in the rules. It contains legally binding orders for the parties and details of the case and the Arbitrator’s explanation as to why they decided the case as they did. The Arbitrator decides the case purely on the arguments and evidence presented by the parties. The parties must prove their case on the balance of probability to the satisfaction of the Arbitrator. Consumers should note that court proceedings may result in a different outcome to the Arbitration process.
The Arbitrator is restricted to consideration of the documents and evidence submitted, unless it deems it appropriate to request further information or evidence, or conduct independent research via the internet. It is important to make every point and submit all supporting evidence that you consider relevant.
No, there is no obligation to have legal representation, but you may ask one to submit your claim for you if you want to. Please be advised that you will be unbale to claim for any charges you may be charged for a solicitor’s service.
No, the whole arbitration process is conducted in writing.
To ensure that our principles of independence and impartiality are upheld, the arbitrator has no direct contact with either party to the dispute. However, if you require reasonable adjustments to submit your claim, you may contact our Administration Team by telephone.
There is a nominal administration fee to consumers of £10.00 for disputes up to the value of £750.00 and £25.00 for disputes over and above £750.00.
You can submit a claim to Consumer Arbitration if:
- The dispute is with a company that is a member of the Scheme;
- Your claim falls within scope of our Scheme Rules; and
- You have raised your complaint directly with the company in writing and either i) received a final written response (known as a ‘deadlock letter’) or ii) afforded the company eight weeks to respond to your dispute.
The Award will be produced within 28 days of us receiving a Complete Complaint File.
The Award is legally binding under the Arbitration Act 1996 and cannot be overturned unless a court decides it is a result of fraud, corruption or serious misconduct by the arbitrator. Court action like this is uncommon and should not be attempted without independent legal advice and representation.
You and the company remain free to settle the dispute independently outside of Arbitration at any time before the Award is published by the arbitrator. If you opt to do this, Consumer Arbitration is unable to be involved in any negotiations. If a settlement is agreed, you must contact us immediately, in writing, to cease the Arbitration process. We will subsequently contact both parties to confirm that we will be closing the case as settled.
If the company does not follow the arbitrator’s directions within the requisite timeframe, you should contact us so we can make further enquiries with the company. However, in the event the Award remains unsatisfied, you will have to submit to the courts for enforcement of the award. We are unable to provide any guidance or advice about this process.