WHEREAS, the use of non-binding arbitration to aid in the resolution of civil disputes is authorized pursuant to § 44.103, Florida Statutes, and
WHEREAS, rules governing arbitration are contained in Rules 1.700, 1.800, 1.810 and 1.820, Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, and
WHEREAS, rules governing individuals serving as arbitrators are contained in Rules 11.010 and 11.020, Florida Rules for Court-Appointed Arbitrators, and
WHEREAS, the circuit judges of the Seventh Judicial Circuit have endorsed the use of non-binding arbitration in circuit civil, family law, and probate/guardianship/trust actions;
NOW THEREFORE, I, J. DAVID WALSH, Chief Judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit, hereby order that the following procedures apply to the operation of the non-binding arbitration program in the Seventh Judicial Circuit:
- Pursuant to Rule 1.810 (a), Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court Administrator’s Office shall maintain a list of individuals who are qualified to serve as arbitrators and who express interest in serving as arbitrators.
- In cases referred to non-binding arbitration, the presiding judge will appoint an arbitrator from the Court’s list. In the alternative, the parties may mutually agree upon the selection of an arbitrator from the Court’s list.
- Except for those types of cases precluded by rule (see Rule 1.800, Florida Rules of Civil Procedure), the presiding judge may refer any circuit civil, family law, or probate/guardianship/trust action to non-binding arbitration. When referring a case to non-binding arbitration, an Order of Referral in a format substantially similar to that attached hereto as Attachment A (PDF) must be used.
- Arbitrators will be compensated at the rate of $225 per hour (see Rule 1.810 (b), Florida Rules of Civil Procedure); said compensation to be borne equally by the parties. The parties shall pay the arbitrator his/her fee for two hours at least 10 days prior to the commencement of the arbitration hearing. If a previously scheduled arbitration hearing is cancelled due to resolution of the case within 10 days of the scheduled hearing, the arbitrator will be entitled to retain the aforementioned fee. If an arbitration hearing is conducted outside the county of residence/business of the arbitrator, the arbitrator will be entitled to compensation for his/her travel time at the rate of $75 per hour, plus mileage reimbursement at the State rate. If the time necessary to complete the arbitration process exceeds two hours, or if the arbitrator incurs travel expenses, the parties shall pay the arbitrator the balance of his/her fees/expenses upon request.
- Arbitration hearings must be conducted in accordance with applicable statutes, rules and laws. Arbitrators will set the date, time and place of arbitration hearings using a standard Notice of Court-Ordered, Non-Binding Arbitration. Arbitration hearings may not be conducted in Court facilities. Fees associated with procuring space to conduct arbitration hearings may be charged to the parties.
- Arbitrators must supply summary statistical information (PDF) to the Court Administrator’s Office in a manner and format prescribed by the Court.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Administrative Order # CV-2008-019-SC is hereby rescinded.
TO BE RECORDED in Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia counties.
DONE AND ORDERED in Daytona Beach, Volusia County, Florida this 22nd day of May 2009.