The art of arbitration

Published May 27, 2022, 5:31 AM

by Fil C. Sionil

As a forever student of business and markets, I am titillated by emerging subjects, topics and issues that business is bracing up, including ways that could make doing business easier, particularly at this time when everybody is trying to survive from the slump due to the virus.

 And arbitration is one such avenue that could address amicably corporate and/or banking disputes, skirting the expensive way of going to court.

 Arbitration is a procedure that decides disagreements between contracting parties. It seeks redress to an issue economically and swiftly.  

To satisfy my curiosity, I hooked up with one of the best arbitration lawyers in the country today, the tandem of legal luminaries Demetrio C. Custodio, Jr. and Zenaida “Dada” Ongkiko-Acorda of the Custodio, Acorda, Sicam & De Castro Law Offices with office just across my abode in the central business district of Makati.

Both walked me through the beauty, the advantages and the art of arbitration.

 For us who are non-savvy on legal proceedings, arbitration or mediation could be likened to a neighborhood dispute being settled in the barangay level for protagonists to agree on a settlement rather than going straight to the court. This is in its simplest form.

In the business world, arbitration is now the preferred mode of settlement.

This is now the preferred path to make resolution quick and firm. It shortens the resolution period because the arbitrator engaged is impartial but at the same time expert of a specific field relative to the issue at hand.

Additionally, the time element is tops. The word delay is simply out of the equation. No temporary restraining order that we normally hear in celebrated court cases.

The period to study and understand the case is brief. Comparably, the judge handling a corporate dispute is a “generalist,” thus, it would take time for him to fully comprehend the subject being questioned. Also, court hearing schedules take some time.

It’s less costly compared to the long gestation period of waiting for the resolution of a case in court.

It reduces the time for unquantifiable lost opportunities. Simply because given the basic principle of arbitration the protagonists will have an idea whether to drop the project being contested altogether and move on or proceed with it, depending on the ruling of the arbiter, which is not appealable.

And there’s forever in arbitration. There is no statutory limitation to disclose the agreement. It is forever confidential. Although, there is forever, it also paves the way to moving on, reducing the unquantifiable opportunity lost.

It, too, can transform adversity into opportunity, thus, fanning further the wheels of business to churn to the more productive track.

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