July 14, 2009
The National Arbitration Forum (“FORUM”) provides arbitration services decided by experienced and independent legal experts including retired judges and experienced lawyers that represent the fairest and most inexpensive option for consumers to resolve a dispute. The impartiality of the process is ensured by the fact that these legal experts perform their work as part-time independent contractors in addition to their other legal and judicial practices. The independence of these legal experts ensures the fairness of the process and ensures that consumers have affordable access to justice.
The FORUM’s arbitration program has been supported in numerous courts in which it has been reviewed, and has frequently been praised by noted members of the nation’s judiciary, including the United States Supreme Court.
The FORUM conducts arbitration; there are no institutional investors in the FORUM. Like many companies, Forthright, who provides the back office administration on behalf of the FORUM, has a multitude of minority investors as wide ranging as University endowments and private equity funds who also have a myriad of other separate investments. At no point does any minority shareholder or fund have any role or influence over the impartial arbitration process.
BACKGROUND ON ARBITRATION
As an adversarial means of dispute resolution, like litigation, arbitration provides for a decision in favor of one party, typically leaving at least one party unhappy with the result. As such, any administrator of arbitration is likely going to get complaints. The National Arbitration Forum makes every effort to fully address complaints, including those filed by the Minnesota Attorney General’s office. The National Arbitration Forum does this to ensure the fairness of the arbitration process and to continually improve the administration of arbitration.
Published studies and empirical data indicate that consumers prevail at the same or better rate as they do in court. For debt collection matters in particular, lenders prevail 93.8% of the time in arbitration and over 96% of the time in court.
As a matter of principle, the National Arbitration Forum believes arbitration is the most effective tool consumers have at their disposal to address disputes. Specific FORUM rules were created to provide consumers with additional protections. The FORUM’s consumer protections are not present in court or with other arbitration providers.
The latest arbitration research reinforces that arbitration is strongly preferred by consumers over litigation, and that outcomes in arbitration are virtually the same as in court. For additional resources on arbitration please read:
Consumer Arbitration Protections
- Consumers can submit claims and responses in their own words and format. There is no mandated legal pleading.
- Consumers do not have to pay a response fee to defend a case in a document hearing.
- A consumer does not pay more in arbitration fees than he or she would pay if the case went to court.
- An indigent consumer can have fees waived in arbitration and not pay anything.
- The National Arbitration Forum sends out a second notice to a consumer to remind them to respond to an arbitration claim. This is twice the notice a consumer receives in litigation.
- A trained case coordinator is available to answer any procedural questions a consumer has by telephone or email.
- Consumers can choose to attend a hearing in person or by telephone, or they can submit their case in writing.
- Participatory hearings are flexible and can be scheduled at a specified time and date, so the consumer does not have to waste time waiting for a trial or miss work.
- Consumers have the right to have a lawyer represent them, or they can have anyone help them with their case.
- Arbitrators can ask questions of the consumer if the arbitrator needs more information and evidence to decide a case.
About the National Arbitration Forum (FORUM)
Founded in 1986, the National Arbitration Forum (FORUM) is a world leader in arbitration and mediation services. The FORUM provides accessible civil justice through the recruitment, selection, and management of a highly experienced and distinguished panel of over 1,600 former judges and seasoned lawyers. Now optimized by Forthright, the FORUM is the faster, lower cost, and superior alternative to litigation, that ensures parties receive the same outcomes they would in court. www.adrforum.com
More on Arbitration
More information on arbitration can be found in the Benefits of Arbitration Report or in the National Arbitration Forum newsroom. The newsroom contains additional FORUM news articles and a media kit with factsheets on opinions, facts, and the basics of arbitrating disputes, news releases, and other resources about alternative dispute resolution.