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Can I sue if there is an arbitration clause in my contract?

When business entities experience conflict and cannot resolve their own disputes, business litigation can result. Not all New Jersey businesses want to see their legal matters aired out in the courtroom. Some entities include in their business contracts certain clauses that stipulate different methods of dispute resolution.

One alternative form of dispute resolution is arbitration. Arbitration can be less expensive than litigation and it may take less time as well. It cannot, however, be initiated without the consent of both parties to the dispute as one party cannot waive another party's right to sue.

During arbitration, a party notifies the other of his intent to arbitrate the matter. The receiving party may respond, and the parties may then choose a panel of arbitrators to hear their matter. The decision of the arbitration panel gives the parties resolution to their conflict and ends the process.

Many companies write arbitration clauses into their contracts in order to avoid litigation. If a party agrees to a contract that includes an arbitration clause, then she may be bound to use that form of alternative dispute resolution to work through her legal matter. However, not all contracts are valid, and if a person has a means of demonstrating that a contract or at least its arbitration clause is invalid, then she may open her options to litigate her business matters.

Many people agree to arbitration without even knowing it. When they buy goods or services, they may simply agree to their venders' terms and conditions. Arbitration clauses are sometimes buried deep in the fine print of these agreements, and parties may find themselves in arbitration without even realizing it was an option or even the only option for settling their business disputes.

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