How to Initiate the Arbitration Process


Q. After an unsuccessful informal mediation process, our company is moving to arbitration for the first time. Could you give us some guidance on how to present our case so that we don’t feel the need to hire an attorney or someone else to represent us?

A. Jaime Bustamante. First, let me begin by saying that depending on the complexity of the case, it may not be a bad idea to hire someone with experience such an attorney, to represent you. However, you should be aware that with arbitration, as with any litigation before the courts, attorney fees are not necessarily awarded as part of the settlement. And if they are awarded to the prevailing party, it may not be the full amount.

At the beginning of the formal process, the DRC will provide you with a Statement of Claim (SOC) template which includes detailed instructions on how to present your case. Clarification will be provided by staff as required. Here’s a brief description of the information required in the Statement of Claim:

  1. A demand that the dispute be referred to arbitration. This demand is already included in the SOC template mentioned above.
  2. The names, addresses, telephone number, and email of the parties. Make sure to include in your SOC the name of a responsibly connected person to the company such as the owner, shareholder, director, etc. Most of the times a sales person is not a responsibly connected person.
  3. A description of the claim and an indication of the facts supporting it. In order to have a better understanding of your claim, supporting documents (exhibits) such as invoices, B.L., correspondence, inspections and other documents, should be label as ”Exhibit A”, “Exhibit B”, etc. By labelling the exhibits, it becomes easier for the reader to understand the claim. In an Expedite Arbitration there is no hearing, therefore, it is very important the arbitrator can understand and follow the exhibits to be presented.
  4. The relief or remedy sought and the amount claimed. Don’t forget to include the arbitration fees, interest, and attorney fees as part of your remedy.
  5. The Statement of Claim must be delivered by fax/email and mail to the DRC and the Respondent. DRC’s Dispute Resolutions Rules required you to send two (2) copies of your SOC.

Once the informal mediation process ends, the documents exchanged during that stage are sealed and remained confidential. Not even the arbitrator will have access to the informal file. However, this does not mean that you can’t summarize the information gathered during the informal procedure and include it in your SOC.

Finally, be reminded that the information you provide in support of your case will have an impact on the arbitrator’s decision and award.