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Delaware Supreme Court Adopts New Arbitration Rules

Saturday, August, 15, 2015

The Delaware Supreme Court is adopting official rules to govern arbitration proceedings that are pursuant to the Delaware Rapid Arbitration Act. This is considered a novel approach and it is intended to create a quick, efficient, and confidential process for settling business disputes. Companies willing to incorporate the act into their contracts are encouraged to review the details and ensure the rule will meet the company’s particular needs.


Many who have worked with arbitration disputes in the past will consider the rules familiar. Many are adopted by the American Arbitration Association, JAMS, and the International Centre for Dispute Resolution, but the state has also instituted a few of its own rules that are unique.


For instance, the Delaware act requires the arbitrator accept appointment before any pleadings are filed. Once the arbitrator is locked in he or she can take complaints, give answers, hear cross claims, and schedule preliminary hearings within 10 days. The Delaware act has included these additional provisions because their ultimate goal is to make resolutions as speedy and efficient as possible. Rulings must be issued within 120 days and to ensure this occurs, hearings are limited to a single day unless parties agree to a lengthened specific time period when appropriate.


The new rules also put a lot of emphasis on confidentiality. Unless all parties agree, everything disclosed during arbitration will remain confidential. The arbitrator also has the power to issue rulings to ensure this occurs. The only way filings from arbitration become public record is if parties appeal the arbitration ruling to the Delaware Supreme Court.