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Arbitration in finance is a dispute resolution process where a neutral third party, known as an arbitrator, is chosen to settle a conflict or disagreement between two or more parties. It is an alternative to court litigation and is often used in business or financial disagreements. The decision made by the arbitrator is typically binding and enforceable by law.


The phonetic spelling of “Arbitration” is: /ɑːrbɪˈtreɪʃən/

Key Takeaways

Certainly, here are three key takeaways about Arbitration:“`html

  1. Arbitration is a process for resolving disputes: This form of resolving disputes is outside of courts where a third party, known as the arbitrator, makes a binding decision. It is often used in commercial, labor and family disputes.
  2. Arbitration is flexible and private: Compared to litigation, arbitration processes can be tailored according to the needs and convenience of the parties, including the choice of arbitrators, rules and procedures. Unlike court proceedings, arbitration is usually private and the details remain confidential.
  3. Arbitration awards are globally enforceable: Drawing from various international treaties, most notably the New York Convention, arbitration awards are internationally recognized and easier to enforce in foreign jurisdictions compared to court judgments.



Arbitration is a significant term in business and finance as it refers to an alternative dispute resolution method outside of court where a neutral third party, known as an arbitrator, makes a decision that is often binding. It’s vital because it mitigates the need for potentially time-consuming and costly litigation thus allowing businesses to conserve resources. Moreover, arbitrations can be kept private, preserving the confidentiality of sensitive business operations or disputes. Its importance also lies in the customizability of the process, as parties can mutually select their arbitrator and shape the process to fit their specific needs. Ultimately, arbitration can lead to expedited, cost-effective, and efficient resolution of disputes, preserving business relationships and ensuring the smooth continuity of operations.


Arbitration serves a critical role in the realm of finance and business as a conflict resolution mechanism. It is used when there are disputes between two parties over their contractual agreements or obligations. The purpose of arbitration is to provide an easier, quicker, and more efficient alternative to traditional court proceedings, which can be time-consuming, costly, and often lead to further complications. It offers a less formal venue for resolving disagreements, typically involving a neutral third-party arbitrator who makes a binding decision based on the evidence presented. This approach is used in a plethora of contexts within the business and financial sectors. For instance, disputes pertaining to mergers and acquisitions, financial transactions, commercial contracts and agreements, or issues related to securities and investments often resort to arbitration. It is not limited to contentious issues between businesses, but also plays a significant role in resolving employee-employer disputes. As such, the method of arbitration is valued by businesses for preserving relationships, maintaining confidentiality, and affording more control over the process and outcome.


1. Labor Disputes: One of the most common examples of arbitration in the real world is in labor disputes. When employees and employers have a disagreement over terms of employment, wages, or conditions, they may turn to arbitration. For instance, in 2018, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, representing UPS’s employees, and UPS itself couldn’t agree over a new contract. An arbitrator was appointed to settle the disagreements, reviewing both the claims and ruling in favor of the fair solution based on the evidence presented.2. International Trade Disputes: Arbitration is frequently used in international trade disputes. For example, in disputes between different countries under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO). An example is the long-running dispute between Boeing and Airbus over subsidies, where both US and EU have sought arbitration at different times as they could not resolve their issues bilaterally.3. Commercial Contract Disputes: Arbitration is also widely used in commercial contract disputes between businesses. For instance, when two businesses have a disagreement over a contract they have entered into, they might decide to turn to arbitration. An example of this is the dispute between telecom giants Nokia and Blackberry. In 2016, BlackBerry claimed it had overpaid royalty payments to Nokia. Instead of a traditional court battle, they referred to international arbitration for a resolution. Eventually, the award was given in Nokia’s favor.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Arbitration in finance and business?

Arbitration is a dispute resolution method where a neutral third party or entity, known as the arbitrator, makes a decision after a dispute is presented by the concerned parties. It’s commonly used in finance and business to resolve disagreements without resorting to court proceedings.

How does the process of Arbitration work?

In Arbitration, both parties present their case to the arbitrator. The arbitrator then reviews the evidence, listens to both parties and then makes a decision, called an ‘award’. This decision is typically final and legally binding.

Is Arbitration always legally binding?

It depends on the type of arbitration. Binding arbitration means the decision is final, legally binding and enforceable by the courts. On the other hand, in non-binding arbitration, the decision can be rejected by either party if they’re not satisfied, which may then lead to a court trial.

What are the advantages of Arbitration?

Arbitration tends to be faster than a court process, it maintains confidentiality as the proceedings are usually private, and it allows parties to choose their arbitrator, who is typically an expert in the relevant field.

When is Arbitration typically used in business and finance?

Arbitration is often used in matters related to contract disputes, trading disagreements, or issues related to mergers and acquisitions. It can also be used to resolve disputes between a company and its employees or between shareholders.

What is the role of an arbitrator in a business dispute?

The arbitrator’s role is similar to that of a judge in a court. The arbitrator listens to both parties, reviews evidence, and then makes a decision. The arbitrator’s decision is usually final and legally binding.

Can the decision made by an arbitrator be appealed?

Generally, an arbitrator’s decision cannot be appealed. If the arbitration is binding, the decision can only be reviewed by a court for very limited reasons, such as fraud or a significant error in law.

Are the costs of the Arbitration process lower than those of court litigation?

Not necessarily. While arbitration may be quicker than court litigation, the fees of the arbitrators, and often the cost of renting a location for the arbitration, mean costs can be similar or often higher than court costs.

Related Finance Terms

  • Mediation
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Settlement Agreement
  • Arbitration Clause
  • Binding Decision

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