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Copyright (c) 2001 Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University
Southern Illinois University Law Journal

ARTICLE: Survey of Illinois Law: Mandatory Arbitration

Summer, 2001

25 S. Ill. U. L. J. 925


Suzanne J. Schmitz *



The past year brought a challenge to the constitutionality of funding for the Mandatory Arbitration System program. 1 Rulings concerning rejection, debarment, and voluntary dismissals of cases on the mandatory arbitration docket have added to the growing body of interpretations of the Mandatory Arbitration System Act and its rules without yet providing clear guidance.

Mandatory arbitration is distinct from private or contractual arbitration. 2 Governed by statute and rules, 3 mandatory arbitration provides an efficient and cost-effective means of resolving disputes for certain categories of cases. 4 Typically, a hearing before three arbitrators, all lawyers trained in the program, is set six to nine months after the complaint is filed. 5 Automatic discovery rules permit case preparation in an abbreviated period. 6 Relaxed evidentiary rules allow a hearing to be completed in two hours. 7 The parties may reject the award made by the arbitrators by filing a notice of rejection and paying the rejection fee within thirty days of the award. 8 Parties who timely and properly reject the award may proceed to a trial de novo. 9 Several studies have demonstrated party and lawyer satisfaction with the program. 10 Updated statistics about the program are available from the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts. 11

Attorneys need to be familiar with the Mandatory Arbitration System Act, Illinois Supreme Court Rules 86-95, and the local rules of each county in which the program exists. Further, they should be aware that the ...
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