Arbitration is an alternative method of solving a dispute by submitting it to an objective panel of judges. The panel has no authority except that which is given to it by the parties when they agree to enter the process in advance. MMAC’s highly qualified “judges” listen to evidence, examine documents or testimony of the parties involved, and then rule on the merits of the claim or dispute. This manner resolution is especially effective with technical or specialized cases, or those cases where the parties are looking to maintain some level of confidentiality and are looking to avoid the publicity, expense and excessive time involved with an open trial.
The panel members are selected for their marine backgrounds to ensure familiarity with the type of disputes that come before the panel. Fairness is guaranteed from the start: A basic panel consists of three arbitrators. Each party appoints one arbitrator; those two arbitrators then select a third panel member from the MMAC’s list of approved arbitrators. This third person then presides over the panel. MMAC’s case managers will make the arbitration process easy for all concerned as they will facilitate the entire process that includes: coordinating the arbitration utilizing the rules of MMAC, assisting with the choice of arbitrators, scheduling hearings, keeping the arbitration on schedule as well as facilitating the communication flow between all parties concerned.
Unlike an actual courtroom trial, there is no established format for the arbitration proceeding itself. All that is required is that the parties be treated equally and given a full opportunity to present their cases. Generally, the process enjoys a great deal more flexibility than that which is afforded by the court system; for example, in scheduling proceedings at hours that are convenient for all concerned.