What is judicial arbitration?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jun 19, 2018

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>Judicial arbitration programs exist at both the state and federal level and even federal agencies such as the IRS, have arbitration programs in place for evaluating certain fact-based disputes.

Judicial arbitration was adopted by the court system as a means of ending filed disputes more quickly and less expensively. In order to qualify, you must already have a filed lawsuit. In most cases, it is the responsibility of the parties to request the arbitration.

The Judicial Arbitration Process

The process of judicial arbitration follows that of a regular arbitration. The lawyers for litigating parties each present their side of the case to a selected arbitrator. The arbitrator then gives his opinion on who would win and how much the loser would pay. In some cases, the arbitrator and the issues to be resolved must be approved by an overseeing judge.

Attorneys define how the arbitration proceeds in an arbitration agreement. For instance, the arbitrator can view other forms of evidence that would otherwise be inadmissible and hear testimony uninterrupted by objections. After hearing both sides, the arbitrator makes a decision.

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How Binding Is the Decision?

How binding the decision is depends upon the court’s arbitration rules. Some states have binding arbitration requirements where the arbitration proceeding is completely binding and is simply entered in as the final judgment. In these cases, parties must file a motion for trial during the arbitration if they are having doubts about the process.

In a non-binding judicial arbitration, the parties can accept this opinion or continue their litigation. If one side does not accept the opinion, there are certain consequences if that side fails to do better at trial.

Learn more in What is non-binding or advisory arbitration?

Overall, judicial arbitration has proven to be very beneficial when used by parties. It drastically reduces court expenses, resolves the case much faster, and typically results in a decision that results in both parties feeling justified. For more information on judicial arbitration in your state, contact your attorney.

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