CA Arbitration Agreements: Understanding the Pros and Cons

As a business owner, you may have heard of arbitration agreements. These agreements are contracts that require parties to resolve any disputes through arbitration rather than going to court. In California, arbitration agreements are governed by state law and can have unique advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of CA arbitration agreements.

Pros of CA Arbitration Agreements

1. Cost Savings

One of the most significant advantages of CA arbitration agreements is the potential for cost savings. Litigation can be expensive, time-consuming, and unpredictable. With arbitration, parties can often resolve disputes more efficiently and with lower costs.

2. Privacy

Another advantage of CA arbitration agreements is the potential for greater privacy. Court proceedings are generally open to the public, whereas arbitration proceedings can often be kept confidential. This can be particularly important when sensitive business information is at stake.

3. Control over the Process

In arbitration, parties have greater control over the process. They can choose the arbitrator, decide on the location and timing of the arbitration hearing, and agree on the rules that will govern the proceedings. This can lead to a more customized, streamlined, and efficient process.

Cons of CA Arbitration Agreements

1. Limited Appellate Rights

One of the most significant disadvantages of CA arbitration agreements is the limited appellate rights. Parties generally cannot appeal an arbitrator`s decision based on legal errors, except in limited circumstances. This means that if an arbitrator makes a legal error, the parties may be stuck with that decision.

2. Limited Discovery

Discovery is the process of obtaining information from the other party in litigation. In arbitration, discovery is often limited, which can limit a party`s ability to build a case. This can be particularly harmful if one party has greater access to information than the other.

3. Lack of Precedent

In arbitration, there is no legal precedent, which means that each case is decided on its own merits. This can be an advantage in some cases, but it can also lead to inconsistent decisions and uncertainty.


Overall, CA arbitration agreements have both advantages and disadvantages. For businesses, the decision to include an arbitration agreement in a contract should be carefully considered. It is important to weigh the potential cost savings and streamlined process of arbitration against the potential limitations on appellate rights, discovery, and legal precedent. In some cases, arbitration may be a more effective and efficient way to resolve disputes. In others, litigation may be a better option. Consulting with an attorney experienced in arbitration can help to make the best decision for your business.


Charles J.