Are arbitration decisions public?
One of the key features of arbitration, particularly in the context of family law, is its privacy. Unlike court decisions which are typically part of the public record, arbitration decisions are private and confidential. This confidentiality extends to all parties involved – meaning the details of the decision remain between the disputing parties, their legal counsel, and the arbitrator.
However, it is important to recognize that there are circumstances under which an arbitration decision might enter the public domain. This can occur if the decision needs to be enforced through a court order. For example, if one party does not voluntarily comply with the arbitration decision, the other party may need to seek court assistance to enforce it. In such cases, the arbitration decision would be included in court filings and thus become part of the public record.
Similarly, if an arbitration decision is appealed, the details of the decision may become public during the appellate process. Additionally, any other legal processes requiring the filing of the arbitration decision with a court – such as in the case of disputes over the arbitration process itself or challenges to the arbitrator's authority – would also make the decision a matter of public record.
Therefore, while arbitration in family law is inherently private, parties should be aware that under certain legal circumstances, the decisions rendered in arbitration could become public. This is an important consideration for those valuing confidentiality in resolving their legal disputes.