Although all attempts are made to provide accurate, current and reliable information, you should recognize the possibility that information on these pages may not be up to date. It is the responsibility of all parties to check current Local and State Civil Rules regarding arbitrations that are referred to on these pages to assure the accuracy of this information.
Chester County Rules of Civil Procedure provide that any civil matter where the amount in controversy does not exceed fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) and which do not involve title to real property, will proceed through compulsory arbitration. (Chester County Rules of Civil Procedure 1301.1).
Initial Filing - Arbitration Date
Cases must be filed in the Office of the Prothonotary. The arbitration date will be set by the Prothonotary at the time of filing. The date will be approximately six months from the filing date. The Court Administrator’s Office will then issue notices of the arbitration date 60 days prior to the arbitration date. The pre-arbitration memorandum will also be sent at this time.
The memorandum is a form requesting statements of the facts that is to be filled out by both parties. The memorandum must be filed within seven days before the date of the arbitration hearing, all parties shall file with the Prothonotary, in triplicate, a memorandum in the form provided and shall immediately serve a copy on each party. It is expected that the memorandum will not exceed two pages. For the requirements of the pre-arbitration memorandum please see Chester County Rules of Civil Procedure 1303.2.
Continuance Requests for Arbitration Hearings
All requests for continuances must be made to the Arbitration Administrator, Sara A. Wolfgang, within reasonable time for processing prior to the scheduled hearing date. Continuance requests must be in letter format. The letter should include a detailed reason for the request and the position of the opposing party. If the party requesting the continuance is not represented by an attorney, they must include their phone number and address in the letter. Continuance requests can be faxed to 610-344-6127 or mailed to 201 West Market Street, Suite 4100, West Chester, PA 19380-0989.
To be considered for appointment to a board of arbitrators, an attorney admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania who is actively engaged in the practice of law primarily in Chester County and who maintains an office in Chester County shall file with the Office of the Court Administrator a Certified Arbitration Registration Form and a completed W-9 Tax form. Please refer to the Certified Arbitration Registration Form for specific requirements regarding Chair of Arbitration Board, Non-Chair Category A and Non-Chair Category B.
Full Day Chair Position is paid $225
Half Day Chair Position is paid $112.50
Full Day Non-Chair Position is paid $200
Half Day Non-Chair Position is paid $100
Arbitration Room Assignments - Jury Assembly Room
The Jury Assembly Room has been designated as the location where attorneys, clients and witnesses gather on the assigned arbitration date. This room is located on the 5th Floor of the Justice Center. The cases are then assigned to an arbitration panel and given a courtroom or hearing room where the case will be heard.
All matters will be heard by a board of arbitrators at the time, date and place specified on the notices sent out to all appropriate parties. If at the time of the hearing 1 or more parties are not present, the matter may be heard at the same time and date before a Judge of the court without the absent party or parties. There is no right to a trial de novo on an appeal from a decision entered by a Judge. All hearings shall be held in the Chester County Justice Center unless the arbitrators and all parties agree otherwise. Cases are assigned to an arbitration panel in an orderly fashion.
The list of cases are called and the cases where both parties are present will be assigned to a panel first, followed by the cases where only one party is present. After the assignment to a panel, the case will be heard, an award will be entered and the award will be filed in the Prothonotary’s Office. Both parties will receive notice of the award.
In the event one or more of the parties is not present at the arbitration, the matter may be taken to an available Judge without the absent party or parties. Should the Judge decide to hear the matter, the Judge may choose to
- enter a judgment of nonsuit if the Plaintiff is not present or
- enter a judgment of non pros if neither party is present or
- hear the matter and make a decision if the defendant is not present. (Chester County Rules of Civil Procedure 1302.1 (f)). In the event that the Judge decided to hear the matter, the parties have no right to a trial de novo on appeal from the Judge’s decision.
Cases Remanded to Arbitration
A matter that is listed on an assigned Judge’s trial list can be requested to be listed for arbitration. It is necessary to put the request in writing and to the attention of the Court Administrator’s Office. Once the Court Administrator receives the request, it will then be taken to the assigned Judge. at which time the request will be reviewed.
An appeal from an award shall be taken by filing a notice of appeal in the Prothonotary’s Office not later than thirty days after the entry of the award on the docket. (PA Rules of Civil Procedure 1308). The fee associated with the appeal is payable to the Prothonotary’s Office (Prothontary Fee Schedule). The party appealing the award pays the fee for the appeal. The case will then be deemed trial ready 60 days after the appeal is filed. (Chester County Rules of Civil Procedure 249.3 (a)).