Arbitration is one of the most popular forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
Similar to a judge, an arbitrator is a neutral third party who hears witnesses and reviews evidence before delivering a judgment that is usually legally binding.
However, arbitration is less formal than courtroom litigation and typically less costly and time-consuming.
And unlike the court system, parties involved in arbitration are allowed to choose their own arbitrator, and can design the process to suit their own needs. That means they can choose the timing and place of the arbitration, as well as who will be present.
Another key benefit of arbitration is privacy. Proceedings are confidential, which is generally considered a major advantage over litigation.
But how does one start a career in arbitration? What kind of training pathways and certifications are available in Canada?
Here is a simple breakdown of arbitration careers, training options, and professional designations.
People interested in starting a career in arbitration have quite a few training options.
A range of institutions offer arbitration courses and certificates, including universities, colleges, and professional associations.
Introductory programs may be delivered online or on campus, and typically cover several areas of practice—such as commercial disputes, labour conflicts, and family arbitration.
Arbitration training should always include role play and mock hearings, which offer students the opportunity to apply the theory and techniques they have learned in class.
You can also expect to study areas of law relevant to arbitration, how to draft arbitration documents, the stages of arbitration hearings, and the ethics that govern the practice of arbitration in Canada.
These topics are fairly standard across quality training programs because they align with best practices laid out by the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Institute of Canada—the country's leading alternative dispute resolution professional organization.
Tip: Look for arbitration training that is accredited by the ADR Institute.
The ADR Institute sets the benchmark for arbitration training and practice, and awards two levels of certification to qualified candidates:
1) Qualified Arbitrator (Q.Arb) designation
2) Chartered Arbitrator (C.Arb) designation
Each designation has specific requirements and criteria, which candidates must fulfill before submitting an application for membership and certification.
Note: To get certified, you must apply to both the national ADR Institute and your regional affiliate. You must become a member at both levels.
Requirements vary somewhat between provincial affiliates, so it's wise to check the requirements in your area before beginning arbitration training.
Click here to find the ADR Institute in your province, and learn more about arbitration certification requirements.
The Q. Arb designation is the entry-level rank, and the C. Arb designation is for more experienced arbitrators who already possess several years of professional experience.
required skills and traits for Arbitrator
Successful arbitrators cultivate a very specific set of skills to gain trust, project authority, and make sound judgments.
These skills range from legal knowledge to emotional intelligence and are essential for building a successful career in ADR.
Some of the most important competencies for arbitrators include:
☑️ Continuous learning and critical thinking
Successful arbitrators are experts in their area(s) of practice. They are committed to continuously refining their knowledge and grasp of applicable laws. Professional rigour and attention to detail are key.
☑️ Integrity and self-discipline
Arbitrators strive to remain neutral in order to achieve the fairest and most just outcome for every dispute. Maintaining objectivity requires constant vigilance and self-discipline.
Effective arbitrators are compassionate and empathetic and recognize the human aspect of every dispute.
Excellent listening and speaking skills are an obvious requirement for arbitrators. But so are non-verbal communication, emotional intelligence, and the capacity to establish trust and rapport.
Professional arbitrators often work at ADR firms alongside retired judges and practising lawyers.
They typically specialize in a particular area of practice, such as breach of contract disputes, wrongful dismissals, human rights, family disputes, and partnership dissolutions.
Arbitrators also work with provincial and federal governments, and as independent contractors.
Note: You can become a certified arbitrator even if you don't have a professional background in law.
Explore the online Arbitration certificate at Kompass
Are you interested in learning more about arbitration training? Looking for a flexible course you can complete online?
Explore the Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution certificate offered by Kompass.
This course is accredited by the ADR Institute of Canada, the country's leading organization for dispute resolution professionals.
Training is delivered entirely online and taught by certified arbitrators.
Click below to see a detailed list of courses, pricing, and upcoming start dates.