Year started: 1990
Eligibility: All civil cases valued between $10,000 and $30,000
Free Mediation Services Available?: No
In response to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 86, which authorized the courts to use filing fees to fund non-binding mandatory arbitration programs, Cook County launched its mandatory arbitration program in January 1990. Under this program, all civil cases asking exclusively for money damages valued up to $30,000 are automatically transferred to the arbitration program after the initial hearing, unless a trial by jury is waived at that time.
Once a case is transferred to the arbitration program, the Arbitration Administrator assigns three arbitrators randomly by rotation and schedules the arbitration hearing, which takes place at the Arbitration Center. Discovery is limited, and hearings may take no more than two hours. After the hearing, the arbitrators decide the award. The parties then have 30 days to decide whether to accept or reject the award. If the award is rejected, they can continue to negotiate settlement while awaiting trial.
The arbitrators are licensed attorneys who have at least three years of experience. The panel includes a chair, who must have five years of experience. To be placed on the court's roster, the arbitrators must attend a 6-hour training. The arbitrators are paid a flat fee per case by the court.
Between the 2007 and 2011 fiscal years, the program had an average caseload of 13,583 cases. Over this time period, the program had an average disposition rate of 78%. In fiscal year 2011, 15,771 cases were referred or pending in the program and 10,861 were settled or dismissed, for a disposition rate lower than the five-year average at 69%. Of the 6,681 cases that proceed to a hearing, 1,466 awards were accepted (22%) and 3,676 were rejected (55%). No award was entered in 1,539 cases; these either settled before an award was entered or were still pending at the end of the year. Only 434 cases, 3% of the year's caseload, later proceeded to trial.
Illinois Supreme Court. Illinois Supreme Court Rules, Jun. 4, 2008
Resource Type: Rules - Court
Abstract: The rules apply to actions subject to mandatory arbitration within judicial circuits in Illinois. They include the procedures for the appointment, qualification and compensation of arbitrators, the scheduling of hearings, discovery, conduct of the he...Feb. 24, 2003
Abstract: This section applies to court-annexed arbitration in Cook County. The arbitration rules of the Illinois Supreme Court are referenced within. In this circuit, the amount in controversy must not exceed $30,000. The rule outlines the qualifications to b...
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.
Kim Atz O'BrienCourt-Annexed Mediation Supervisor
Circuit Court of Cook County
222 N. LaSalle Street, 13th Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
phone: (312) 793-0125
fax: (312) 793-0146