Frequently Asked Questions - Judicial Arbitration
1. What is the difference between mediation and judicial arbitration?
Mediation is an assisted negotiation. You are the final decision-maker. In mediation, the parties decide if they are willing to settle and on what terms. In judicial arbitration (Non-binding) an independent attorney (arbitrator) looks at evidence, hears arguments, listens to witnesses, and makes a decision (award) about the case. If the parties do not object to the award it will become a court order. If the award is not acceptable to either party, they may ask for a new trial (trial de novo). The arbitrator does not help the parties negotiate a resolution. The arbitrators’ work is complete when the award is made.
2. How is binding arbitration different?
Binding arbitration is not a court related process. You and the other party may choose to go to binding arbitration. Binding arbitration is most appropriate when the parties want a third party to decide the outcome but would like to avoid the formality, time, and expense of a trial. The parties do not retain control over how their dispute is resolved, cannot ask for a new trial, and generally cannot appeal the arbitrator's award. The arbitrator in this process is still chosen by the parties, but is an individual; not necessarily on the ADR panel, nor required to be an attorney. Go here for more information on binding and non-binding private arbitration.
3. How is a judicial arbitrator selected?
All parties must agree on an arbitrator. You can get a list of arbitrators with expertise in your type of case from the ADR Program. If the parties cannot agree on an arbitrator, the assigned judge may appoint one.
4. What are the qualifications of a judicial arbitrator?
All arbitrators on the court ADR panel are licensed California attorneys.
5. How much will arbitration cost?
Answer: Arbitrators in judicial arbitration cases are paid $150 per case or $150 per day if the arbitration takes more than one day. All of the arbitrators on the court's panel have agreed to be paid directly by the parties or to donate their services. The parties routinely share the fee.
6. Can I talk to the arbitrator to provide additional information or ask questions?
No, this is generally inappropriate. An arbitrator will limit the contact that he/she has with you outside the presence of the other party in order to maintain the arbitrator’s impartiality. Remember the arbitrator’s role is to make a decision on the case (an award) not to assist the parties to negotiate.
7. How do I prepare for arbitration?
Preparing for arbitration is very much like preparing for trial. You must prepare and submit information to the arbitrator at least five court days before the hearing. The information should include: (a) name and relationship to the case of all parties who will attend the hearing, (b) a brief statement of the legal and factual issues in the case, including your views on liability and damages, and (c) copies of any documents that will help the arbitrator understand the issues in the dispute. This is not a negotiation. You must convince the arbitrator to rule in your favor.
8. What if I do not like my arbitration award?
State law requires that, the arbitrator must file the award (decision) within 10 days of the completion of the arbitration hearing. You will be mailed a copy of this award. The award will become a final and binding court order within 60 days, unless you or the other party disagrees with the decision and file California Judicial form ADR-102 to ask for a new court hearing (called a trial de novo). This form is an optional form and you may choose to file your request on pleading paper.
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