In Florida, as well as other states, arbitration is a way of resolving legal disputes without actually going to court. It is cheaper and often faster compared to a court case, so it can lead to a smoother and less expensive path to the end of the dispute.
How arbitration works
Arbitration is a process that takes place outside of the courtroom. A trained arbitrator, who might be a lawyer, a retired judge, or some similar legal official, oversees the whole process. The role of the arbitrator is not the same as a judge. They should help both parties state their grievance, their goals, and how they want to proceed. The idea is to create a neutral ground with less tension and oppositional energy than court, but that still has the power to create useful solutions to the dispute at hand. Ideally, the parties can resolve their issue solely within arbitration, but they always have the option of ending it and moving on to court instead. Sometimes they might take a hybrid approach of starting with arbitration and then moving to court to finish ironing out the last key points.
Often, contracts between businesses or people will specify whether or not arbitration is relevant for contract-related disputes. Some contracts can require arbitration, while others might outlaw it, and they can vary in whether they require the arbitration to be binding or not. Arbitration is more serious than mediation and is more likely to be legally binding, but the proceedings are not public.
Arbitration might be the best way to resolve a legal conflict in many cases, so it is good to be aware of its importance.