Civil ยท ADR

Preparing For the Arbitration Process

Who Must Attend The Arbitration Hearing
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Local rules require counsel, or party if not represented by counsel, to attend the arbitration session. Failure to appear is subject to monetary sanctions (LASC Rule 12.10).

The arbitration may proceed, and an award issued, in the absence of any party who, after due notice, fails to be present or to obtain a continuance [CRC 1610(b)].

Role Of The Arbitrator
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Arbitrators listen to the evidence presented by each side and render a decision in writing called an award. The arbitrator shall disclose to parties any conflict of interest or potential conflict that might affect his or her impartiality on the case.

How To Prepare For The Arbitration
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Although less formal than a trial, counsel and clients should be fully prepared to argue their position on the case and to present documentary evidence and witnesses. Before the arbitration: organize your arguments; identify and organize documentary evidence and testimony that support your arguments; and make sure you have complied with CRC 1613.

Persuasive and forceful presentation is encouraged but civility and mutual respect are vital.

Submission Of Briefs
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Briefs are expected and necessary. The brief should include identification of the parties, a concise description of the facts, and applicable case law and statutes. The briefs should be submitted to the arbitrator at least 2 days prior to the arbitration hearing.

What To Expect At The Arbitration Hearing
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The rules of evidence apply in arbitration, but with exceptions (See CRC 1613). The arbitrator will explain the process. Each side may present an uninterrupted opening statement setting forth its position as to the facts and law.

After opening statements, the parties present their evidence and witnesses. The arbitrator swears in the witnesses and makes rulings on the admissibility of evidence. After all evidence is presented and all witnesses have been heard, the parties make closing arguments.

Discovery After Assignment of Arbitrator
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All discovery must be completed not later than 15 days prior to the date set for the arbitration hearing (CRC 1612).

Award of Arbitrator
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Within 10 days after the conclusion of the arbitration hearing, the arbitrator submits an award and files it with the ADR Office with copies to all parties. The court may allow up to an additional 20 days to submit an award in complicated cases [CRC 1615(b)].

The award must be in writing, signed by the Arbitrator and filed with the ADR Office (CCP1141.23).

Judgement/Trial De Novo
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An arbitrator's award is final and entered as the judgment unless a Request for Trial (Trial de Novo) is filed within 30 days from the date the arbitrator files the award with the ADR Office (CRC 1616). The 30 day period may not be extended (CRC 1616).