Parties can agree to have an impartial arbitrator decide the issues in their case. Michigan statutes MCLA 600.5070 et seq set forth the conditions for arbitration. The arbitrator must be an attorney. Sometimes the rules of evidence are relaxed. While parties cannot choose a judge, they can choose the arbitrator. As a result, parties can find an arbitrator with special expertise if needed.
Arbitration proceedings are not open to the public, but arbitration awards are filed with the court and can be enforced like any other judgment. Parties who submit to arbitration give up the right of appeal. If the arbitrator strays from the “scope” of the arbitration or otherwise acts improperly, a party can file a motion to “vacate” the arbitration award. If a party objects to the judge’s decision on a motion to vacate an arbitration award, a party can appeal that decision but not the underlying arbitration award.