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Arbitration

What is arbitration?

Arbitration is a procedure much like a trial, but less formal. Instead of a decision being made by a judge or jury, an arbitrator hears the evidence and makes a decision.

Like a judge, an arbitrator makes rulings on motions, decides the order in which witnesses appear and the testimony they give, and may impose penalties on a party who disobeys the arbitrator’s orders. Like a jury, an arbitrator hears the evidence, determines which side wins and which side loses, and decides what the result will be.

What kind of cases go into arbitration?

There are two kinds of cases that go into arbitration: civil lawsuits and domestic relations or family law cases.

A civil lawsuit
is a case where one party (the plaintiff) is suing another person or corporation (the defendant) for money. The lawsuit may go into arbitration depending on the amount of money the plaintiff is asking for. Cases less than $50,000 must go into arbitration.
 
Examples include a personal injury case from an automobile accident, a disagreement about a contract, or some other type of case that doesn’t involve criminal charges.
A domestic relations or family law case
is when the parties are arguing about something other than custody or support.
 
An example is a case where the husband and wife cannot agree on how to divide their property and their debts.

How does arbitration work?

  1. If a case is eligible for arbitration, the court sends the parties a list of proposed arbitrators.
  2. Then, the parties have 21 days to select an arbitrator. The parties may also agree to another arbitrator of their choice.
    •  If the parties do not agree on the selection, the court will assign the arbitrator.
  3. Once the arbitrator is appointed, the arbitrator will be notified by the court.
  4. The arbitrator sets the time, date, and place of the hearing and must give reasonable notice of the hearing date to the parties.
    • The hearing must be scheduled to take place no later than 49 days from the date the case is assigned to the arbitrator, unless good cause is shown why it should be later.
  5. An arbitrator must issue a decision within 14 or 21 days. (See UTCR 13.220 for details)

What is the cost of arbitration?

The parties are required to pay the arbitrator a fee to participate in arbitration. This fee is set and updated by the Court’s Arbitration Commission. Read the details here.

Can an arbitrator decision be appealed?

If either side does not want to accept the arbitrator’s decision, the case may go back before a judge or jury for a decision. A party wishing to appeal the arbitration award must do so within 20 days after the arbitration award is filed with the court. The case then goes to a new trial (trial de novo).

How to become an Arbitrator?

Arbitrators typically have significant experience in Civil law and/or special training as a Mediator, are an active member in good standing of the Oregon State Bar, and have been admitted to any Bar for a minimum of five years. All Arbitrators must conduct themselves in the manner prescribed by the Code of Judicial Conduct (UTCR 13.090).

To apply to become an Arbitrator at Jackson County Circuit Court, please complete the Arbitrator Application.

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