Frequently Asked Questions


Plaintiff: The party making the Claim. 

Defendant: The party against whom the Claim is made.

Claim: The Plaintiff’s legal and factual allegation against the Defendant.

E-Judge: The party deciding who prevails (wins) in the dispute.

Discovery: The process in which the parties request information from each other.

Award: Written determination by the Judge as to who prevails (wins) the dispute.

Jurisdiction: The authority granted to the court to hear a case.

Counter Claim: An additional Claim by the defendant against the plaintiff.

Defendants / Respondents

  • What is an Award and what do I do with it?

    Similar to traditional arbitration and mediation, Brief is a private service and renders the parties in a dispute an Award (decision).  Again, similar to traditional arbitration and mediation, the Award will be a one-to-two page document that summarizes the Claim, the E-Judge’s decision, and why they decided in that way. That Award can then, at the choice of the prevailing (winning) party, be filed with the appropriate court to be converted into a legally binding judgment.

  • Do I have to respond to a Claim?

    Brief recommends that you consult with an attorney, but failure to respond to a Claim may result in a default Award or judgment against you. 

  • Do I get an opportunity to dispute the Claim?

    Yes, Brief will guide you through the online dispute process, and you will have more than one opportunity to present your case and to upload your supporting evidence or documents. 

  • I don’t recognize the plaintiff; is this my debt?

    If you don’t recognize the plaintiff or this obligation, please immediately contact Brief at [email protected] so that we can review, correct, or withdraw the Claim.

  • What if I am not the person mentioned within the Claim?

    Please immediately contact Brief at [email protected] so that we can review, correct, or withdraw the Claim.  

  • What if I disagree with the forum of Brief?

    If you disagree with Brief as the forum for this dispute, you should immediately consult an attorney.  Failure to formally object may waive your right to object to this forum at a later date and the E-judge retains the ability to determine jurisdiction.  

  • Is my Claim or defense a private or public record?

    Because Brief is a private company, the records you submit are stored and encrypted in our secure database and subject to our Privacy Policy. However, because this is a legal dispute those records may, at some point, become part of a public filing after an Award has been rendered.

  • I would like to settle my debt; what are my options?

    Brief can facilitate a settlement between the Plaintiff and you after you register online here.

  • What if I need advice?

    Brief will not and cannot provide any legal advice or legal assistance.  As such, we recommend that you seek your own independent legal advice from your own attorney.  

  • What law will the Judge apply to my case?

    The E-Judge will typically apply the law of the state in which the Claim arose, unless there is an agreement or contract that requires the application of a different jurisdiction’s law. If there is a dispute as to which law applies, the E-Judge will evaluate that aspect of the dispute and make a determination as to which law applies.

  • Can I provide legal citations (caselaw) to the Judge if I believe they support my Claim or defense?

    Yes. You can provide these when you create your Claim or upload and describe your evidence before the case is finalized and submitted to the Judge.

  • What are my rights?

    Brief recommends that you consult with an attorney as you have the right to defend the Claim against you.

  • What’s a judgment?

    In the context of arbitration, a judgment is when a court with proper jurisdiction reduces or confirms the Award and converts into an enforceable court judgment.  

  • Is the Award legally binding?

    Yes, it is a final determination of the merits of the dispute (Claim).  But to become enforceable, the prevailing (winning) party must file the Award with the appropriate court to convert it into a court judgment.  

  • If I’m not happy with the decision from the E-Judge, can arbitration be appealed?

    An arbitration Award can only be appealed if the disputing parties agreed to an appealable Award in their original contract or in some other binding agreement.  

  • Will this affect my credit?

    An adverse Award may affect your credit, so attention to this dispute is paramount. 

  • What if I lose an Brief Claim?

    Unfortunately, in every dispute, there are winners and non-winners. Once an Award is rendered (posted) by Brief, it is up to the prevailing (winning) party to have that Award converted into a Judgment.  All of the parties’ rights (Plaintiff or Defendant) are preserved in connection with that Judgment process. To avoid future adverse consequences, many parties will try and resolve the matter informally at this stage before the Award is converted to a Judgment but that is up to the parties themselves to try and accomplish that.

  • Is there a cost to use Brief? Who pays?

    The fees to use Brief are paid by the Plaintiff, so there is no up-front cost to the Defendant. However, the Plaintiff may seek reimbursement of those fees through the Brief dispute process and, if the Plaintiff prevails (wins), those fees paid by the Plaintiff to Brief may be included in the Final Award total.  

    Our policy is that the party initiating the case is the party responsible for the initial cost of arbitration unless the parties otherwise agree to split or shift those fees. (In those instances the Brief administrator should be contacted to facilitate a shared payment.) 

  • Can I recover my fees and costs, including my fees paid to Brief or paid to my lawyer?

    It depends if your Claim is eligible for a return of attorney fees and costs.  Brief will ask you, when you upload your Claim or your defense, if your costs are eligible to be paid back (it’s also ok if you don’t know; the Judge will review and correct for you). The Judge will also confirm whether a recovery of attorney’s fees (being paid back for your out-of-pocket) and your costs is appropriate. Any Award (decision) for attorney’s fees and other costs will always be, per federal and state law, at the discretion of the E-Judge.

  • Have further questions than our FAQs have addressed?

    Please feel free to email us at [email protected] and we will do our best to answer your questions.

  • What happens if I do not respond timely and default?

    At the time a matter is determined to be in default (a failure to timely respond) the case will be assigned to one of the E-Judges for review. In accordance with the Brief Rules, if the evidence supports an award the assigned E-Judge will issue that award.

    If more evidence or information is required the E-Judge will contact Plaintiff with any inquiries. Any award, once issued, will set forth the amount of the award, the amount of any fees or costs that the parties are entitled to, along with a brief summary of the basis of the award.

  • How long does the Brief process take?

    Most of our participants get to an Award in an average of 45 days, start to finish, a fraction of the time it takes traditional courts, arbitration, or mediation to decide a case.

  • Can I use the Brief platform with or without an attorney?

    Brief is designed so that anyone can use the platform to resolve a qualified Claim.  However, it is always recommended that parties seek independent legal advice regarding any legal dispute or issue

  • What is Brief a good fit for?

    Brief is ideal for monetary claims, collection actions, promissory note disputes, rent collection, declaratory relief, and breach of contract Claims.

  • What is Brief not a good fit for?

    Brief does not handle employment Claims, evictions, torts or personal injury, fraud or negligence.

  • What is the difference between arbitration and mediation?

    Mediation usually takes place before arbitration and is a method for disputing parties to have a neutral third party listen to both sides of the dispute. That neutral party can then make recommendations to the parties to settle or resolve that dispute so that the parties can avoid litigation or further arbitration. 

    Mediation is non-binding, whereas arbitration, in most instances, including on the Brief platform, is binding and cannot be appealed.  

  • Is arbitration confidential?

    In most instances arbitration is confidential and the documents uploaded and shared with Brief are subject to its privacy policy and terms. 

  • What Claim sizes are appropriate for Brief’s dispute resolution platform?

    When it pertains to a monetary dispute, Brief is designed to handle Claims that are $500,000 or less. Brief can also handle declaratory relief actions and other types of Claims that may or may not have a monetary component. 

    If you are unsure if Brief is the proper forum for your Claim or dispute, please contact us at [email protected].  

  • Who are the judges, and how are they selected?

    Our judges (E-Judges) are lawyers, professionals, or retired judges who have at least ten years of experience and that have no record of bar discipline. 

    To ensure timeliness and efficiency, E-Judges are automatically selected for each case; litigants do not get to select them. Each E-Judge is selected by their jurisdiction and their areas of expertise or knowledge.  

    Our E-Judges are evaluated internally on the quality and timeliness of their Awards as well as through feedback from participants on Brief.

  • Can I contact the E-Judge directly?

    We take communications with the E-Judge as seriously as any court of law would. So, all communications to the E-Judge are only at the E-Judge’s request and only through the Brief dashboard and platform. E-Judge communications will be sent simultaneously to both parties as will any Responses. 

    If you contact our Brief E-Judge outside of the Brief system on an active Brief case, our E-Judge is precluded (not allowed) to reply or otherwise engage with you outside the platform.

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    — Great, you've got your arbitration clause, but now what? —

    Three important tips when updating your agreement with the Brief arbitration clause: 

    With your Brief arbitration clause, you now have your venue: Brief’s Online Platform. You’ll have your jurisdiction: All disputes arising from the Agreement will be decided exclusively by Brief, and lastly, you’ll have your choice of law to be applied.

    Keep in mind that these are suggestions and not legal advice. Whenever you update your agreements, it’s essential that you have an attorney review and approve.