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What is arbitration?

Arbitration is a legal procedure, much like a trial by a judge or a jury. The arbitrator hears the evidence and makes a decision, instead of a judge or a jury. Like a judge, an arbitrator makes rulings on motions, enters orders, and may impose penalties on a party who does not comply with the arbitrator’s orders. A list of eligible arbitrators are established and maintained pursuant to UTCR 13.090 and is available at the Court Administration Office.

What types of cases are eligible for arbitration?

Under Oregon Statutes 36.400 through 36.425 and Uniform Trial Court Rules Chapter 13, both Civil and Family cases may be eligible for arbitration. A civil case is eligible for a mandatory arbitration if the initial amount sought for damages is less than $50,000. Parties in family law cases must participate in arbitration if the dispute does not involve custody or support.

How does arbitration work?

Once a case is determined to be arbitration eligible, the court sends the parties a list of available arbitrators. The parties then have 21 days to notify the Court of arbitrator selection from the list or stipulate to an arbitrator not listed. If the parties do not agree on the arbitrator selection, the court will assign the arbitrator pursuant to UTCR 13.080.

Once appointed, the arbitrator sets the time, date, and place of the hearing and notifies the parties in compliance with ORS 36.420. Per UTCR 13.160, parties are required to pay arbitration and, except for good cause shown, the arbitration hearing must be scheduled and take place not later than 49 days from the date an arbitrator is assigned to the case. An arbitrator is required to render a decision within 42 days of the hearing date under UTCR 13.220. If an appeal is desired of an arbitrator’s decision, a party must file an appeal of the arbitration award within 20 days of the arbitrator’s decision and appropriate trial fee as required under UTCR 13.250 and ORS 36.425. The non-prevailing party may be required to pay the prevailing party’s share of the arbitration fees.

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).
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