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Arbitration is an alternative to a court case. Businesses can agree to take their disputes to an arbitration tribunal. That tribunal is made up of ‘arbiters’ (referees) from their business sector.

How does an arbitration tribunal work?

The arbitration tribunal deals with the conflict in a similar way to how a judge would deal with it. The tribunal is made up of either 1 or 3 arbiters (referees) who work in the relevant sector. The claimant submits a written claim and the opposing party responds by submitting a written defence.

Sometimes there is a second round of written submissions. Then the arbitration tribunal organises a hearing where the people who are involved in the dispute can explain their point of view in person. The tribunal can also invite witnesses and experts or investigate the matter themselves, for example by visiting a structure.


Binding decision

When the tribunal has made a decision, they write down that decision. The tribunal sends this decision (vonnis) to the people on both sides of the dispute. The registrar at the courthouse also records the decision.

People on both sides of the dispute must comply with the arbitration tribunal’s decision. If they do not comply with the decision, the arbitration tribunal can ask the court to force them to do so. Then the winning side can bring in a bailiff to collect the money.

The arbitration tribunal can also make demands, for example to make someone resolve a problem.




You can appeal against a decision by some arbitration tribunals. If it is not possible to appeal, the people who are involved in the dispute can go to court to ask the judge to dismiss the arbitration tribunal’s decision.

Who pays for arbitration?

The person who starts the arbitration procedure (the ‘claimant’) must pay for the procedure, and for a lawyer if a lawyer is hired. The claimant can ask the arbitration tribunal to order the opposing party to pay these costs if the opposing party loses the case.

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