Cases meeting the statutory requirements as defined by RCW 7.06, are subject to and must proceed in arbitration. Any civil, non-domestic action, other than an appeal from a court of limited jurisdiction, is subject to arbitration under this statute if:
- the action is at issue in Superior court;
- the relief requested is for money damages only; and
- no claim exceeds the jurisdictional limit of $50,000, exclusive of attorney's fees, interest, or costs.
The Mandatory Arbitration Rules (see below) apply only to cases governed by RCW 7.06 and do not include arbitration by private agreement or under other statutes, except by stipulation under MAR 8.1.
Note that "at issue" means that all parties have been joined, and that all claims, counterclaims, and cross-claims have been answered.
The Statement of Arbitrability must by filed by the deadline shown on the case schedule or by any extended deadline granted by the court, including a show cause order. Thereafter, a case may be transferred to arbitration only by leave of the assigned judge.
A filing fee of $220 is required before the case will be transferred to the Arbitration Department.
Mandatory Arbitration Department
King County Superior Court
516 Third Avenue
Seattle WA 98104
Phone: (206) 477-2460
Fax: (206) 205-0545
8:30am - 12:00noon
1:00pm - 4:30
In accordance with the state arbitration statute, attorneys who have practiced at the Washington State Bar for five years or more are qualified to serve as members of an arbitration panel. They must have a minimum of 15% of their practice in any area where a case would be assigned.
State legislation passed in 1979 and implemented in King County in 1980 introduced arbitration as a simpler, more economical way to obtain prompt, equitable resolution of disputes subject to the statute. Arbitration initially was mandatory, then became discretionary in 1983, and then became mandatory once more (for counties with populations over 150,000) in 2002. A filing fee of $120 was introduced in 2000 to help defray the costs of the program. This fee was raised to $220 in 2002. The jurisdictional limit originally was set at $10,000 but was raised to $15,000 in 1982, to $25,000 in 1985, to $35,000 in 1988, and finally to $50,000 in 2005. The population requirement also was reduced to 100,000 in 2005.