Arbitration is a form of binding or non-binding dispute resolution that functions outside of the court system. The process addresses anything from a minor consumer dispute to a multi-million dollar international contract.

Arbitration is often and increasingly a faster and more cost-effective form of resolving conflicts than the court system. The outcome of these proceedings can have severe impacts on the parties. To preserve the record and offer protection throughout an arbitration, individuals should consider hiring a digital court reporter to maintain a transcript.

Arbitrations are Growing

Many major arbitration institutions reported a rise in requests for their services in 2020, with some leading arbitration bodies like the International Chamber of Commerce Court of Arbitration (ICC) breaking its previous record for new case filings. The flexible, cost-saving virtual format and the technology used to support it remains popular even as many cases return to in-person arbitration.

Are Court Reporters Mandatory for Arbitration?

While no law dictates that parties must use a court reporter, many companies draft detailed, binding arbitration agreements that contain clauses that mandate the use of a court reporter in arbitration. Those contracts may detail the payment arrangements for the arbitration as well.

In the absence of a contract requiring a court reporter, the parties have the option to request one. The opposing sides can share the costs if both want the transcript.

Transcripts and Appealing an Arbitration Decision

While arbitration decisions are often binding, there are exceptions. The contract might state the terms of a possible appeal, either in court or through an additional arbitration proceeding. Arbitration institutions have their own rules governing this process. The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) also allows for appeals to enter the court system in the following limited circumstances:

– The award is the result of fraud, corruption or undue means
– The arbitrators demonstrated corruption or partiality
– The arbitrators engaged in misconduct by not allowing a party to admit pertinent evidence, unreasonably refusing to postpone a hearing or otherwise prejudice a party
– The arbitrators exceeded their power

Some states also have laws permitting arbitration appeals. If a party wants to challenge the outcome of an arbitration, either based on their contractual or legal rights, the transcript can serve as critical evidence. Failing to acquire a transcript could mean that a wronged party lacks the ability to build their case and challenge an unfair decision.

Holding Parties to the Terms and Avoiding Misunderstandings

Transcripts can help resolve disputes and avoid additional costs related to an appeal. It is difficult to improperly change an agreement if there is a written record memorializing those terms and negotiations. The transcript also helps parties identify misunderstandings before they become contentious, saving time, money and stress.

Arbitrators Can Use a Transcript

Arbitrations may take hours or days. There might be many witnesses presenting evidence, and arbitrators may not retain all of the relevant information. A transcript gives arbitrators something to reference and review when they need clarification.

Real-time transcription services can make the information available in the course of the arbitration, which helps the arbitrators if they missed the point or need to clarify something. Maintaining this record ensures that the arbitrators have all of the facts they need to make a fair decision.

Remote Arbitration Proceedings and Transcription

Remote arbitrations existed before 2020, but there is no doubt that the rate of these virtual proceedings increased drastically because of COVID-19. While many arbitrations will move to in-person settings after all safety restrictions end, some will remain remote. Parties will continue to take advantage of the significant cost-savings that come with avoiding travel. The trend is similar to what the legal world is experiencing when it comes to depositions.

Digital court reporters use transcription software to capture the record for many remote arbitrations, as well as those that take place in person. When it comes to virtual settings, digital reporters are well-situated to accommodate their clients’ needs with real-time audio transcription and the convenient incorporation of exhibits.

Many virtual proceedings take place on popular online platforms, so incorporating Zoom automatic transcription tools will facilitate a smooth and reliable process. Verbit offers a digital transcription technology that integrates into Zoom and other web conferencing platforms.

Additionally, privacy is another significant concern for arbitration institutions, especially when cybersecurity becomes a part of the equation. Arbitrations often involve sensitive information that needs to remain confidential. Using tools like Verbit’s, which are designed to accommodate the legal community and offer HIPAA-compliant voice transcription for Zoom can also offer peace of mind.

Digital court reporters’ services will be in high demand in the coming years as the need for domestic and international arbitration continues to grow. To learn more about how Verbit’s AI-powered transcription software can support professionals and these proceedings, click here.