Litigation is the process of taking a case through court. In litigation process, a case (called suit or lawsuit) is brought before a court of law suitably empowered (having the jurisdiction) to hear the case, by the parties involved (the litigants) for resolution (the judgment).


Arbitration is the process of bringing a business dispute before a disinterested third party for resolution. The third party, an arbitrator, hears the evidence brought by both sides and makes a decision. Sometimes that decision is binding on the parties.

Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), used in place of in the litigation hope of settling a dispute without the cost and time of going to court.

The arbitration process is private, between the two parties and informal, while litigation is a formal process conducted in a public courtroom.

Arbitration vs. Litigation




Private – between the two parties

Public – in a courtroom

Type of Proceeding

Civil – private

Civil and criminal

Evidence allowed

Limited evidentiary process

Rules of evidence allowed

How arbitrator/judge selected

Parties select arbitrator

Court appoints judge – parties have limited input




Appeal available

Usually binding; no appeal possible

Appeal possible

Use of attorneys

At discretion of parties; limited

Extensive use of attorneys

Waiting time for case to be heard

As soon as arbitrator selected; short

Must wait for case to be scheduled; long


Fee for arbitrator, attorneys

Court costs, attorney fees; costly

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