Nina Bombier, a Partner at Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP in Toronto, agrees that arbitration has its share of problems, but she mostly blames human nature. “If parties are antagonistic and can’t agree on anything, going into arbitration probably won’t solve many problems,” she argues. In other words, if disputants are determined to drag each other into the mud, there’s nothing to stop them, whether they’re facing an arbitrator or a judge.
One of the simplest ways to ensure arbitration doesn’t become a quagmire is for parties to agree to work together. Once they’ve decided to launch the process, they must focus on the common goal of moving forward and not on the disagreement. Simply put, they must want to reach a solution, says Bombier. If they are willing to co-operate and work together to come up with a mutually agreed-upon process, then not only can they save time and money, they might also end up with a result that both are happy with, she says.