Judicial Arbitration in California
In 1979, California instituted one of the most ambitious court-based alternative dispute-resolution programs in the country. In an effort to reduce congestion on the civil trial calendars, the legislature required litigants in the state's largest courts to submit their cases to nonbinding arbitration. Over the years, the jurisdiction of the program has been expanded, so that all cases involving money damages of $50,000 or less that are filed in the state's 16 largest court jurisdictions must attempt arbitration before they will be allowed to proceed to trial. This Note reports the findings of a 1987 survey of court officials undertaken to determine the status of California's judicial arbitration program. It also describes how local courts have implemented the program, analyzes selected program outcomes, and examines program trends.