Arbitration is like going to court, except that it is less formal, private and does not usually involve a judge and jury. Instead, the case is decided by a neutral third party arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators. The decision of the arbitrator may be binding or non-binding. Binding arbitration means the decision is final and enforceable, and there are limited options to have the decision overturned by a court. In non-binding arbitration, the decision is typically just an advisory opinion and is not immediately enforceable.
Court-annexed arbitration was established in Illinois as a mandatory, but non-binding, form of alternative dispute resolution. The program is a deliberate effort on the part of the judiciary, bar and public to reduce the length and cost of litigation in Illinois.
The program applies to all small claims jury proceedings and all civil cases seeking money damages exclusively greater than $10,000 and less than the jurisdictional limit approved for that particular circuit by the Illinois Supreme Court. In DuPage County the limit is currently $50,000. Cases may also be transferred to the arbitration calendar from other court calls or divisions.
These arbitration eligible cases are litigated before a panel of three attorney/arbitrators in a hearing resembling a traditional bench trial. Each party makes a concise presentation of its case to the panel of arbitrators who then deliberate the issues and make an award on the same day as the hearing.
The parties to the dispute then have thirty (30) days to decide whether or not to accept the arbitrators’ award. In the event one of the parties is not satisfied with the panel’s decision, he or she may, upon the payment of the proper fee, the filing of the proper form with the Clerk of the Circuit Court, and the giving of notice to all other parties, reject the award. The parties will then proceed to trial before a judge as if the arbitration hearing had never occurred.
The Arbitration Program has provided a speedier resolution of small civil lawsuits than had previously been possible. The parties accept the vast majority of the arbitration awards. In addition, the members of the DuPage County bar, as arbitrators, have played a major role in helping to reduce the length and cost of litigation in this circuit.
The attorneys at DeBlasio & Gower LLC have effectively served clients in arbitration proceedings. With over 40 years of collective experience, our attorneys are prepared to advance cases through the arbitration process, whether in Cook County, DuPage County or other collar counties in Chicago.
DeBlasio & Gower LLC’s founding member, Attorney Antonio DeBlasio, has been selected by Super Lawyers® for Business Litigation in 2008 and in each year from 2014 through 2021. Only 5% of attorneys in Illinois receive this distinction. Contact Mr. DeBlasio at (630) 560-1123 or via our website, www.dgllc.net to schedule a consultation regarding your arbitration matter.