Compared with courthouse litigation, private arbitration has the following advantages:
- Safety: An experienced attorney-arbitrator with expertise in the subject area of the dispute is better able to correctly decide factual and legal issues than is a jury or an inexperienced trial judge struggling in an unfamiliar area. Extreme results are rare.
- Speed: An arbitration hearing usually occurs several months sooner than a court trial would occur (especially with the additional trial delays caused by Oregon's budget problems).
- Economy: The informality and streamlined procedures of arbitration result in significantly reduced attorney's fees and other costs (including reduced discovery).
- Efficiency: Arbitration eliminates elaborate pleadings, motion practice, case status appearances, daily call, and other paper-generating and attorney appearance requirements imposed by trial court rules and procedures.
- Convenient Hearing Dates: Because arbitration hearings are scheduled according to the availability of their attorneys and the parties, the hearing dates are convenient and conflict-free.
- Certainty of Hearing Dates: Because an arbitration hearing date has been set with the consent of all concerned, the hearing almost always takes place as scheduled.
- Privacy: Most laypersons are generally frightened of a courtroom and prefer the privacy and informal setting of arbitration.
- Finality: The challenges that can be made in court to an arbitrator's award are limited by statute and difficult to prove: corruption, fraud, partiality, arbitrator misconduct, etc. (ORS 36.705; 9 USC 10). An award cannot be challenged for an error in law or because of an unreasonable fact-finding. (See Arbitration and Mediation §8.23 (Oregon CLE 1996).) Although this practical finality is admittedly a two-edged sword, most commentators agree that the finality of an arbitration award is one of the benefits of arbitration.