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The U.S. judicial system will be in the focus of this material. We will look at how to settle a dispute through arbitration in California, given that there are parallel systems of state and federal courts in the United States, and these systems can sometimes be in conflict.

Parallel systems

Before beginning arbitration in California or any other state in America, it is necessary to clearly understand how the U.S. judicial system is organized.

Both systems of U.S. courts, both federal and state separately, each consist of a court of the first instance, an intermediate appellate court, and a Supreme Court.

  • First, there is the Federal Arbitration Act, which in some cases would conflict with state law.
  • Second, there is the California Arbitration Act.
  • Third, the arbitration organization itself may have rules governing the appointment of arbitrators, hearings and other similar matters.

In addition, U.S. courts may apply the procedural rules set forth in the Federal Civil Procedure Code, the local procedural rules of the judicial district in which enforcement action is instituted, and the individual actions of the judge making decisions on enforcement action.

Legislation applicable to arbitration

A clear distinction must be made between the procedural law applicable to arbitration and the substantive law governing the claim which is considered in the arbitration.

Applicable procedural law governs matters such as the enforcement of arbitration provisions in California contained in a contract or agreement between the parties, as well as the enforcement of arbitral awards rendered after arbitration.

Because arbitration in California is usually a contractual matter, the agreement of the parties usually specifies the application of substantive law. If there is no such provision in the contract, the arbitrator will be obliged to apply the principles of conflict of laws.

Dispute resolution through arbitration in the state of California

An arbitration agreement is usually included in the provisions of a written agreement between the parties.

The federal arbitration law repeals state laws that prohibit direct recourse to arbitration in connection with certain types of claims. Recent California appeals have applied a court order to enforce arbitration agreements.

Choice of arbitrator

The arbitration clause may specify how many arbitrators should be selected, as well as the method of their selection. In addition, the rules of a particular arbitral tribunal may specify the procedure for selecting arbitrators.

If the agreement of the parties does not say anything on this issue, the choice and number of arbitrators are usually determined taking into account the procedural rules of the arbitration organization. In the absence of such rules, a single arbitrator will be appointed.

As for the selection of candidates for dispute resolution through arbitration in the state of California , this is done by arbitration organizations that specialize in resolving disputes in certain areas of law.

Arbitration in the state of California

The California Arbitration Act enforces the arbitration provisions contained in the agreement between the parties. It should also be borne in mind that the enforcement of a particular arbitral award, and the laws governing it, will depend on whether the award is national or foreign.

Legal assistance

If you are faced with the need to start arbitration in another country, you can not do it without legal advice. Dispute resolution through arbitration requires thorough training and professional knowledge of the current legislation of this country. It is very important to turn to professionals to avoid miscalculations and unfavorable decisions. 

IQ Decision UK solicitors provide comprehensive legal support for arbitration proceedings abroad. Contact us directly for advice on arbitration in the United States, in particular in the state of California.