How Are The Hearings Conducted?
The Director of Arbitration schedules the date of the hearing. The parties will be notified in writing of the date and location of the initial hearing at least eight business days in advance. A verbatim record is kept of the proceedings. A party that elects to have the record transcribed shall bear the cost of such transcript unless the arbitrators direct otherwise.
At the hearing, the parties must present their respective cases by testimony and documentary evidence to the arbitrators. Claimants should document carefully the issues involved and their proof of damages, and explain to the arbitrators how much in money damages is being claimed and how they arrived at that figure. All hearings will be conducted by the arbitrators in the manner they determine will most full presentation of the evidence and arguments of the parties.
Generally, the following procedures will be observed:
- The arbitrators and the witnesses will be sworn.
- Each party will be given an opportunity to make a brief opening that is, a brief outline of the issues involved and what facts that party intends to prove. A party may waive the opening statement.
- The claimant will present facts to the arbitrators including relevant documents and testimony to establish and prove his or her claim.
- The respondent will present his or her case in the same manner as the claimant. Witnesses and parties who testify will be sworn and are subject to cross examination by the opposing side and questioning by the arbitrators. The opposing party may object to any evidence prior to its receipt by the arbitrators. Parties should bring sufficient copies of documents for each of the arbitrators, other parties, and the representative of the sponsoring organization. It is inappropriate to "testify" when questioning a witness, and a party may object if another party does that. A party may offer an affidavit in lieu of the live testimony of a witness. This may or may not be allowed by the arbitrators. Parties should be prepared to explain why a witness cannot come to the hearing and to explain whether the other party had an opportunity to examine the witness. A party should be prepared to bring the witness if the affidavit is not allowed.
- Any counter claim or other matter may be presented in the same way.
- Parties may present rebuttal evidence if appropriate.
- Closing statements may be presented and consist generally of final arguments by the parties and brief summations of the testimony and other evidence introduced at the hearing. A party should refer only to evidence already in the record and not use the closing statement as an opportunity to present new evidence. A party may waive a closing statement.
- The parties are to leave together at the end of the hearing.
- The arbitrators may proceed with a case even if a party does not appear and/or answer.
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