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19th Judicial Circuit > Find it Quick > FAQs for Arbitration/Civil Mediation

Frequently Asked Questions
Alternate Dispute Resolution Program

This page contains answers to frequently asked questions handled by our staff. Included are some tips that have been found. They are presented here as questions.

What is arbitration?

Arbitration is one method of dispute resolution that is available in the private sector and employed by some courts throughout the United States. In Lake County, arbitration is mandatory on all civil cases seeking money damages between $10,000-$50,000. Small Claims cases where a jury demand has been filed are also subject to mandatory arbitration. Only lawsuits filed in the Lake County Circuit Court can be heard in the Lake County arbitration program.

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What happens at the arbitration hearing?

An arbitration hearing is conducted by a panel of three arbitrators and is similar to a bench trial. At the arbitration hearing, the panel will listen to the facts, evidence, and law and at the end of the hearing will deliberate on an award. The Award of Arbitrators will then be filed with the respective Office of the Circuit Clerk, who will mail copies of the award along with a Notice of Award.

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Is the Award of Arbitrators binding?

Pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court rules, any party present at the arbitration hearing can "reject" the Award of Arbitrators within 30 days of the date of the award, along with payment of a rejection fee, and completion of a Notice of Rejection form to be provided to all parties.  In accordance with Supreme Court Rule 93a, the rejection fee is $200 for awards of $30,000 or less and $500 for awards greater than $30,000.

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Who are the Arbitrators?

The arbitrators are attorneys who have been approved, trained, and certified to serve on the panel. Arbitrators are selected on a random basis, for service on a specific date. Once at the Arbitration Center, the panels review the files for any conflicts and also to become familiar with the issues in the lawsuit.

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Where is the Arbitration Center?

The Lake County Arbitration Center is located at 415 Washington Street, Suite 106, Waukegan, IL. It is one block west of the main courthouse, on the south side of the street. The Arbitration Center is open from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. Visitor parking is limited to a designated area and if parked elsewhere in the parking lot, your car may be towed.

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Are there rules that govern the arbitration program?

Illinois Supreme Court Article I, Rules 86 to 95 govern mandatory arbitration as well as local rule 17.00. Copies of Local Rule17.00 are available at the Arbitration Center.

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What happens if someone is unavailable to attend the arbitration hearing?

In Lake County, Motions to Continue the arbitration hearing are heard by the Supervising Judge of the Arbitration Program. Uncontested motions are heard on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 1:30 pm and contested motions are heard on the same days at 2:30 pm (days and times are subject to change). A party that is interested in being placed on the appropriate motion call must contact the Lake County Office of the Circuit Clerk as well as provide notice of the motion to all parties involved.

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What happens after the arbitration hearing?

At the conclusion of the hearing, the panel will deliberate and complete the Award of Arbitrators. The award must be agreed upon by a majority (2) of the panel members, with a dissenting signature line available on the award form. A party may wait for the results, or phone the Arbitration Center for the results. The award will then be filed with the respective Office of the Circuit Clerk. The Circuit Clerk will mail the Award of Arbitrators and a Notice of Award to all parties; the Notice of Award will provide the next court date for the case. On that status date, if no rejection is filed, a party must move for entry of judgment on the award or enter a dismissal order. If a rejection has been filed, the Court will set the case for trial.

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