Compulsory, non-binding arbitration has been a component of the civil court system in a number of jurisdictions for several decades. These arbitration programs generally have the same basic structure: cases in which the amount in controversy is under the prescribed jurisdictional limit must be submitted to a neutral attorney for adjudication under relaxed rules of evidence and procedure. Any party may appeal the arbitrator's award for a trial de novo; absent an appeal, the arbitrator's decision is entered as the judgment of record in the case. The goals of most court-connected arbitration programs include resolving cases faster, reducing the costs of resolution for the court and for litigants, reducing the caseload pending before judges and correspondingly expediting the disposition of cases that remain in the traditional litigation process, and providing a simplified hearing process that litigants and lawyers find to be fair and satisfactory.



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