Can I get out of arbitration or fire the arbitrator?
Exiting an arbitration process or 'firing' an arbitrator is not a straightforward matter, as it involves several legal considerations. Once parties enter into an arbitration agreement, they are generally bound by its terms, including the commitment to resolve their dispute through the arbitration process.
However, there are limited circumstances under which you might exit the arbitration or change the arbitrator. These include:
- Mutual agreement to terminate arbitration - if both parties agree to stop the arbitration process, they can jointly decide to terminate it. This mutual agreement should be documented in writing to avoid any legal complications.
- Removal of arbitrator by court – A court can remove an arbitrator if a party requests it, based on certain conditions as provided in the Arbitration Act. These include if the arbitrator can't perform their duties, has acted corruptly or fraudulently, has caused unnecessary delays, if there are justifiable doubts as to the arbitrator’s independence or impartiality, or if they haven't followed the required procedures.
- Arbitration agreement provisions - some arbitration agreements may contain specific clauses outlining the conditions under which the arbitration process can be terminated, or an arbitrator can be replaced. It’s important to review the agreement for such provisions.
- Legal challenges - in rare instances, parties might challenge the validity of the arbitration agreement itself through legal means. If a court finds the agreement to be invalid or unenforceable, this could effectively end the arbitration process.
It is crucial to note that 'firing' an arbitrator or exiting arbitration is not a simple decision and can have legal and financial implications. It is advisable to consult with a legal professional to understand the risks, potential costs, and legal procedures involved. The decision should be made considering the specific terms of the arbitration agreement and the laws governing arbitration in your jurisdiction.