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Compulsory Arbitration

by | Apr 22, 2023 | Firm News |

In the state courts of Pennsylvania, matters with less than $50,000 in dispute are submitted to compulsory arbitration. Compulsory arbitration, as its name suggests, is not a voluntary program. Cases are tried to a panel of three attorneys. The rules of evidence are somewhat relaxed, so cases very rarely last more than a few hours. The idea is for the litigants to be able to try their case quickly and inexpensively. After the award is entered, either side has the right to appeal. In that event, the case is scheduled for trial. Very often, the arbitration award is either accepted by the litigants, or it forms the basis of a negotiated settlement. However, on those occasions where a trial does occur after an arbitration, I like to think of the arbitration as a dress rehearsal, where the parties got to try out the themes and arguments that they may want to use or discard at trial.

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