22. Arbitration Requirements

Parties in dispute should first be legally required to discuss and try to resolve the dispute among themselves, of course, before escalating the matter by getting the courts involved. It is also during this stage that all parties should familiarize themselves with the costs and nature of court arbitration and legal proceedings. This will help the parties decide if arbitration or a full jury trial is really desirable or necessary for resolution of the dispute.

If, after this stage, the dispute is still unresolved, the next step would be to go to an arbitration hearing before a group of two or three judges at the local courthouse. Each party would be required to pay a fee of $100 prior to arbitration, but this fee is refunded to the party who receives a ruling in its favor. Any fines assessed to the losing party would be in addition to this fee. In arbitration hearings, the panel of judges would hear all the evidence from both sides and assess the relative merits of each party’s case and deliver a judgment. If the parties accept the judgment without any party appealing, the case has been resolved and closed.

If a party appeals an arbitration ruling, all parties should be required to be educated on the costs and nature of legal court proceedings involving trial by jury, especially for the loosing party. Also, all parties, but especially the losing party, should be given an assessment of the chances of successfully overturning the arbitration ruling. If all parties still cannot agree, then a jury trial should be scheduled.

All legal arbitrations should be done exclusively by an arm of the government (the courts) and never by a private or non-profit organization. Contracts should be prohibited from demanding arbitration services by any other entity. Contracts should also be prohibited from making arbitration rulings binding upon the parties by prohibiting any appeals to further legal challenges or by prohibiting escalation to jury trials.

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