Year started: 2001
Neutrals: Judges or attorneys with court approval.
Eligibility: Civil cases involving monetary disputes between $10,000 and $50,000.
Free Mediation Services Available?: No
With authorization from the Illinois Supreme Court, the 14th Judicial Circuit launched its mandatory arbitration program in 2001. The program is governed by Supreme Court Rules 86-95 as well as by local court rules, Part 24: Mandatory Arbitration, and is administered by a Supervising Judge for Arbitration and an Arbitration Administrator.
A civil case involving only monetary claims between $10,000 and $50,000 is subject to arbitration. Once such a case is filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court in Rock Island, Henry, Whiteside or Mercer County, it is assigned to arbitration. Cases also may be ordered to arbitration upon the request of either party, by agreement of the parties, or by the court at a status call or pretrial conference.
The Arbitration Administrator maintains a list of approved arbitrators, as well as arbitrators who are approved to serve as chairpersons. Arbitrators are appointed to serve on a random basis. To be eligible for appointment, attorneys must file the appropriate form with the Arbitration Administrator, as well as certify that that they have engaged in the active practice of law for at least one year or be a retired judge. To serve as a chairperson, one must certify that he or she has been engaged in the active practice of law for at least five years or be a retired judge. Before serving on an arbitration panel, attendance at the Arbitration Seminar is required.
Hearings take place at the Arbitration Center in Rock Island in front of a panel of three arbitrators, at least one of which must be certified as a chairperson. After each party makes a presentation of its case, the panel renders its decision and enters an award on the same day as the hearing. It is then filed with Clerk of Circuit Court. Arbitration sessions tend to last two hours or less. To be compensated, the Arbitration Administrator files a voucher to be submitted to the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts. A party who fails to appear will be found to be in default upon motion to the court by the party present.
Within 30 days of an award being filed, the parties to the dispute must decide whether or not to accept the arbitrators' award. A party may reject the award by paying a rejection fee, which ranges between $200 and $500, depending on the amount of the award. The Notice of Rejection is filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court. The parties then go on to trial before a judge or jury.
In Henry County, the average annual caseload between fiscal years 2007 and 2011 was 108 cases, with an average disposition rate of 79%. In fiscal year 2011, 111 cases were pending or referred to the program. Of those, 92 (83%) settled or were dismissed. Five arbitration hearings were held, with one award accepted. No award was entered in four cases; these cases either settled before an award was entered or were pending at the end of the fiscal year. One case proceeded to trial.
In Mercer County, the average annual disposition rate between fiscal years 2007 and 2011 was 63%. In fiscal year 2011, 44 cases were pending or referred to the program. Of these, 31 (70%) settled or were dismissed. Two arbitration hearings were held, with two awards accepted. No cases went to trial, as was the case for the previous four years.
In Rock Island County, the average annual caseload between fiscal years 2007 and 2011 was 568 cases with a disposition rate of 63%. In fiscal year 2011, the disposition rate dropped to 58% (285 of 490 cases were settled or dismissed). Also in 2011, there were 30 arbitration hearings, with 11 awards accepted and 15 rejected. No award was entered for 4 cases; these cases either settled before the award was entered or were still pending at the end of the fiscal year. Only 2 cases, less than 1% of the program's caseload, later proceeded to trial.
Finally, in Whiteside County, the average annual caseload between fiscal years 2007 and 2011 was 225 cases, with a disposition rate of 70%. In fiscal year 2011, 228 cases were pending or referred, and 190 (83%) were settled or dismissed. Six arbitration hearings were held, with one award rejected. No award was entered for 5 cases; these cases either settled before the award was entered or were still pending at the end of the fiscal year. No cases went to trial.
Apr. 1, 2005
Abstract: This rule discusses the actions subject to mandatory arbitration, qualifications to be an arbitrator, procedures for the scheduling of hearings, discovery, conduct of the hearings, default of a party, awards and judgments. It also describes the admin...
Summary: These annual reports summarize activity for all Illinois court-annexed mandatory arbitration programs. Programs featured in the report include the: 3rd Circuit*, 11th Circuit, 12th Circuit, 14th Circuit, 16th Circuit, 17th Circuit, 18th Circuit, 19th Circuit, 20th Circuit, 22nd Circuit*, and the Circuit Court of Cook County mandatory arbitration programs.
The report provides statewide statistics per fiscal year for each arbitration program and covers case types, caseload, average award amount, and average number of days that cases began in arbitration through final resolution. The report also features individual circuit profiles.
*Please note that reports on the 3rd Circuit mandatory arbitration program appear in the 2008-2016 annual reports and that reports on the 22nd Circuit mandatory arbitration program appear in the 2007-2016 annual reports. Reports on the remaining circuits can be found in each of the 2001-2017 annual reports.
2001 Annual Report
2002 Annual Report
2003 Annual Report
2004 Annual Report
2005 Annual Report
2006 Annual Report
2007 Annual Report
2008 Annual Report
2009 Annual Report
2010 Annual Report
2011 Annual Report
2012 Annual Report
2013 Annual Report
2014 Annual Report
2015 Annual Report
2016 Annual Report
2017 Annual Report
Publication: Illinois Bar Journal
Summary: This article discusses Illinois' mandatory arbitration program and gives both pros and cons of arbitration. It also discusses the Illinois Supreme Court 'Cruz' ruling, in which it laid down the rules governing attorney fees in mandatory arbitration.