Compulsory Arbitration

What is Compulsory Arbitration?

Compulsory Arbitration is a mandatory program for disputes valued under $50,000. A court-appointed arbitrator reviews the case to decide a just resolution and award. Arbitration is intended to lower court costs for litigants and allow the Court to utilize judicial resources more effectively. See our Arbitration Frequently Asked Questions.

Before an arbitrator is appointed

  • When filing a complaint, the plaintiff also must file a Certificate of Compulsory Arbitration which states the monetary amount of the controversy.
  • If the case is designated an arbitration case, an arbitrator is appointed once an answer to the complaint is filed. In cases involving a motion to dismiss, once the judge rules on the motion and the case is not dismissed, an arbitrator will be appointed.

After the appointment

  • After an arbitrator is appointed, each side has 10 days to file a Notice to Strike Arbitrator document requesting a different arbitrator.
  • If a Notice to Strike is not filed, the assigned arbitrator will remain on the case unless there is a conflict of interest of personal reason he or she cannot remain on the case.
  • The arbitrator is required to inform the Court in writing if he or she has a conflict with the case.
  • Once the Court receives notice from the arbitrator stating why he or she wishes to be removed from the case, the Court will issue a minute entry either granting or denying the request.
  • When the request is granted, a new arbitrator will be appointed from the list of qualified arbitrators, consisting of attorneys in Maricopa County who have been licensed by the State Bar of Arizona for at least four years.
  • Within 120 days of appointment, the arbitrator will notify the Arbitration Department of a new hearing date.
  • Following the hearing, the arbitrator reaches a decision, and files a Notice of Decision with the Clerk of the Court.
  • The prevailing party must submit the arbitration award and a statement of costs to the arbitrator for signature within 10 days after the notice of decision has been filed.
  • The arbitrator will then eFile the Award with the Clerk of the Court through the Arizona Supreme Court's eFiling website.

Award and Appeal

  • After the arbitration award is signed by the arbitrator, it is filed with the Clerk of the Court. The non-prevailing party has 20 calendar days to file an appeal, with the arbitrator's fee of $75 per hearing day and an $26 processing fee.
  • When an arbitration award is appealed, the case is sent back to the assigned judge for a new trial.
  • The assigned judge may hear the case or send it to Alternative Dispute Resolution for a short trial.
  • Once the appealed case goes to trial, the assigned judge's ruling is considered binding.

Arbitrator Compensation

  • A compulsory arbitrator is entitled to $75 per arbitration hearing day if an award or final disposition is filed.
  • To request payment, an arbitrator must submit to the Arbitration Department an "Invoice in Support of Request for Warrant" and register with Materials Management to be assigned a W-9 Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification.


Helpful Arbitration Forms

Looking for More Information About the Certified Arbitrator Program?

Please visit the Certified Arbitrator Program page for more information about Certified Arbitration, which was created to serve Tier 2 Civil cases to aid in the speedy and efficient resolution of those matters where desired.

Civil Presiding Judge
Pamela Gates


Luke Emerson
Civil Department Administrator
Contact the Civil Department

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