Seals of the Court of Appeals and Superior Court
District of Columbia Courts


How Do I...

Participate in arbitration?
The first time court clients come to court to see the judge is the initial scheduling conference. At that time, if both sides and all attorneys in the case agree, arbitration may be selected as a way of resolving the case without having the judge make a decision. Arbitrators may be selected from a list available in the courtroom. During the arbitration process, which lasts approximately 120 days, the arbitrator will manage the case.

Understand the role of the arbitrator?
Arbitrators have many of the same responsibilities as judges. They supervise the process of both sides exchanging information. After a case is assigned to them, arbitrators make decisions on requests (motions) from either side. Arbitrators also conduct hearings where both sides present evidence and make their arguments. Finally, an arbitrator will make a decision about the case.

Know the agreement is binding or enforceable?
Before arbitration takes place, all sides must agree to use either binding or non-binding arbitration. In binding arbitration, the arbitrator’s decision is final and becomes a judgment of the court. This decision carries the same weight as a decision from a judge. In non-binding arbitration, either side of the case can file a request for a “trial de novo” or new trial, which is a statement that a person does not want the arbitrator’s decision to become a court judgment, and that the case should go to a regular trial process with a judge. If this request (trial de novo) is not made, the arbitrator’s decision will be final and carry the same weight as a decision from a judge.

Seek another opinion of my case?
These motions for a trial are filed, in person or by mail, in the Court’s mediation office, the Multi-Door Dispute Resolution Division, on the second floor of Court Building C, 410 E St NW.

Multi-Door Dispute Resolution Division

Court Building C
410 E Street NW
Washington, DC 20001

Get Directions
Hours of Operation

8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Telephone Numbers

General Information:
(202) 879-1549