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PWCA Judicial Council's Ethics Standards

Selected applicable portions of the Judicial Council's Ethics Standards for Neutral Arbitrators in Contractual Arbitration effective July 1, 2002

Please note that the ethics standards referenced in regulation section 1322 (as amended effective August 12, 2004) are not the standards currently published by the Judicial Council. Section 1322 references the standards effective July 1, 2002, in pertinent part, below.

DIVISION VI. Ethics Standards for
Neutral Arbitrators in Contractual Arbitration

( *** indicates omitted text not applicable)

Standard 1 . Purpose, intent, and construction 
Standard 2 . Definition
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Standard 4 . Duration of duty 
Standard 5 . General duty 
Standard 6 . Duty to refuse appointment 
Standard 7 . Disclosure 
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Standard 9 . Duty to refuse gift, bequest, or favor 
Standard 10 . Duties and limitations regarding future professional relationships or employment 
Standard 11 . Conduct of proceeding

 

Standard 1. Purpose, intent, and construction
(a) These standards are adopted under the authority of Code of Civil Procedure section 1281.85 and establish the minimum standards of conduct for neutral arbitrators. They are intended to guide the conduct of arbitrators, to inform and protect participants in arbitration, and to promote public confidence in the arbitration process.
(b) For arbitration to be effective there must be broad public confidence in the integrity and fairness of the process. Arbitrators are responsible to the parties, the other participants, and the public for conducting themselves in accordance with these standards so as to merit that confidence.
(c) These standards are to be construed and applied to further the purpose and intent expressed in subdivisions (a) and (b) and in conformance with all applicable law.

Standard 2. Definitions
As used in these standards:
(a) [Arbitrator and neutral arbitrator]
(1) "Arbitrator" and "neutral arbitrator" mean any arbitrator who is to serve impartially, whether selected or appointed:
(A) Jointly by the parties or by the arbitrators selected by the parties;
(B) By the court, when the parties or the arbitrators selected by the parties fail to select an arbitrator who was to be selected jointly by them;
(C) By a dispute resolution provider organization, under an agreement of the parties; or
(D) By any party acting alone, if all parties agree in writing that the unilaterally appointed arbitrator is to serve impartially.
(2) Where the context includes events or acts occurring before an appointment is final, "arbitrator" and "neutral arbitrator" include a person who has been served with notice of a proposed nomination or appointment.
(b) "Applicable law" means constitutional provisions, statutes, decisional law, California Rules of Court, and other statewide rules or regulations that apply to arbitrators who are subject to these standards.
(c) "Conclusion of the arbitration" means the following:
(1) When the arbitrator is disqualified or withdraws before making an award, the date on which the arbitrator's appointment is terminated;
(2) When the arbitrator makes an award and no party makes a timely application to the arbitrator to correct the award, the final date for making an application to the arbitrator for correction; or
(3) When a party makes a timely application to the arbitrator to correct the award, the date on which the arbitrator serves a corrected award or a denial on each party, or the date on which denial occurs by operation of law.

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(h) "Financial interest" means a financial interest within the meaning of Code of Civil Procedure section 170.5.
(i) "Gift" means a gift as defined in Code of Civil Procedure section 170.9(1).
(j) "Honoraria" means honoraria as defined in Code of Civil Procedure section 170.9(h) and (i).
(k) "Lawyer in the arbitration" includes any lawyer present at the arbitration hearing or who is identified in any arbitration brief or other papers submitted to the arbitrator as representing a party for purposes of the arbitration.
(l) "Lawyer for a party" includes any lawyer representing a party and any lawyer currently associated in the practice of law with a lawyer hired to represent a party.

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Standard 4. Duration of duty
(a) Except as otherwise provided in these standards, an arbitrator must comply with these ethics standards from acceptance of appointment until the conclusion of the arbitration.
(b) If, after the conclusion of the arbitration, a case is referred back to the arbitrator for reconsideration or rehearing, the arbitrator must comply with these ethics standards from the date the case is referred back to the arbitrator until the arbitration is again concluded.

Standard 5. General duty
An arbitrator must act in a manner that upholds the integrity and fairness of the arbitration process. He or she must maintain impartiality toward all participants in the arbitration at all times.

Standard 6. Duty to refuse appointment
Notwithstanding any contrary request, consent, or waiver by the parties, a proposed arbitrator must decline appointment if he or she is not able to be impartial.

Standard 7. Disclosure
(a) [Intent] This standard is intended to identify the matters that must be disclosed by a person nominated or appointed as an arbitrator. To the extent that this standard addresses matters that are also addressed by statute, it is intended to include those statutory disclosure requirements, not to eliminate, reduce, or otherwise limit them.
(b) [Required disclosures] A person who is nominated or appointed as an arbitrator must make a reasonable effort to inform himself or herself of any matters that could cause a person aware of the facts to reasonably entertain a doubt that the proposed arbitrator would be able to be impartial and must disclose all such matters to the parties. Matters that must be disclosed include:
(1) (Family relationships with party) The arbitrator or a member of the arbitrator's extended family is a party, a party's spouse or domestic partner, or an officer, director, or trustee of a party.
(2) (Family relationships with lawyer in the arbitration) The arbitrator, a member of the arbitrator's extended family, or the arbitrator's former spouse is:
(A) A lawyer in the arbitration. For purposes of this paragraph only, "lawyer in the arbitration" includes a person who has served as a lawyer for or as an officer of a public agency and who personally advised or in any way represented the public agency concerning the factual or legal issues in the arbitration;
(B) The spouse or domestic partner of a lawyer in the arbitration; or
(C) Currently associated in the private practice of law with a lawyer in the arbitration.
(3) (Significant personal relationship with lawyer or party) The arbitrator or a member of the arbitrator's immediate family has or has had a significant personal relationship with any party or a lawyer for a party.
(4) (Service as arbitrator) The arbitrator is serving or, within the preceding five years, has served:
(A) As a neutral arbitrator in another arbitration involving a party to the current arbitration or a lawyer for a party; if the arbitrator is serving or has served in this capacity, he or she must disclose the information required by Code of Civil Procedure section 1281.9(a)(4).
(B) As a party-appointed arbitrator in another arbitration for either a party to the current arbitration or a lawyer for a party, or if the arbitrator is serving or has served in this capacity, he or she must disclose the information required by Code of Civil Procedure section 1281.9(a)(3).
(C) As a neutral arbitrator in another arbitration in which he or she was selected by a person serving as a party-appointed arbitrator in the current arbitration. If the arbitrator is serving or has served in this capacity, he or she must disclose the information required by Code of Civil Procedure section 1281.9(a)(4).
In addition, if the combined total of the cases disclosed under (A), (B), and (C) is greater than five, the arbitrator must provide a summary that states the total number of cases in which the arbitrator served in each capacity and the number of cases in which the party to the current arbitration or the party represented by the lawyer for a party in the current arbitration was the prevailing party.
(5) (Service as other dispute resolution neutral) The arbitrator is serving or has served as a dispute resolution neutral other than an arbitrator in another pending or prior case involving a party or lawyer in the current arbitration or a lawyer who is currently associated in the private practice of law with a lawyer in the arbitration.
(A) [Time frame] For purposes of subdivision (b)(5), "prior case" means any case in which the arbitrator concluded his or her service as a dispute resolution neutral within two years prior to the date of the arbitrator's proposed nomination or appointment, but does not include any case in which the arbitrator concluded his or her service before January 1, 2002.
(B) [Information about cases involving payment] If the arbitrator was or will be paid for serving in such a capacity, he or she must disclose:
(i) The number of pending and prior cases in which he or she was or will be paid for serving in each capacity for each party, lawyer in the arbitration, or other lawyer currently associated in the private practice of law with a lawyer in the arbitration; and
(ii) In each such case in which the arbitrator rendered a decision as a temporary judge or referee, the date of the decision, the prevailing party, the names of the parties' attorneys, and the amount of monetary damages awarded, if any.
(C) [Summary of case information] If the total of the cases disclosed under this paragraph (5) is greater than five, the arbitrator must also provide a summary that states the number of cases in which the arbitrator rendered a decision as a temporary judge or referee in which the party to the current arbitration or the party represented by the lawyer in the current arbitration was the prevailing party.
(D) [Services commenced prior to July 1, 2002] An arbitrator will be deemed to have complied with this requirement with respect to any such services commenced prior to July 1, 2002, if the arbitrator declares in writing that he or she has requested the required information from any dispute resolution provider organization administering those prior services and has disclosed all required information pertaining to those services within his or her knowledge.
(6) (Attorney-client relationships) Any attorney-client relationship the arbitrator has or has had with a party or lawyer for a party. Attorney-client relationships include the following:
(A) A party or an officer, a director, or a trustee of a party is or, within the preceding two years, was a client of the arbitrator in the arbitrator's private practice of law or a client of a lawyer with whom the arbitrator is or was associated in the private practice of law;
(B) A lawyer for a party is or, within the preceding two years, was a client of the arbitrator in the arbitrator's private practice of law; and
(C) In any other proceeding involving the same issues, the arbitrator gave advice to a party or a lawyer in the arbitration concerning any matter involved in the arbitration.
(7) (Other professional relationships) Any other professional relationship the arbitrator or a member of the arbitrator's immediate family has or has had with a party or lawyer for a party. Professional relationships include the following:
(A) The arbitrator or a member of the arbitrator's immediate family is or, within the preceding two years, was an employee of or an expert witness or a consultant for a party;
(B) The arbitrator or a member of the arbitrator's immediate family is or, within the preceding two years, was an employee of or an expert witness or a consultant for a lawyer in the arbitration; and
(C) The arbitrator is, or, within the preceding two years, was associated in the private practice of law with a lawyer in the arbitration.
(8) (Financial interests in party) The arbitrator or a member of the arbitrator's immediate family has a financial interest in a party.
(9) (Financial interests in subject of arbitration) The arbitrator or a member of the arbitrator's immediate family has a financial interest in the subject matter of the arbitration.
(10) (Affected interest) The arbitrator or a member of the arbitrator's immediate family has an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the arbitration.
(11) (Knowledge of disputed facts) The arbitrator or a member of the arbitrator's extended family has personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts relevant to the arbitration. A person who is likely to be a material witness in the proceeding is deemed to have personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding.

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(13) (Membership in organizations practicing discrimination). The arbitrator's membership in any organization that practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation. Membership in a religious organization, an official military organization of the United States, or a nonprofit youth organization need not be disclosed unless it would interfere with the arbitrator's proper conduct of the proceeding or would cause a person aware of the fact to reasonably entertain a doubt concerning the arbitrator's ability to act impartially.
(14) Any other matter that:
(A) Might cause a person aware of the facts to reasonably entertain a doubt that the arbitrator would be able to be impartial;
(B) Leads the proposed arbitrator to believe there is a substantial doubt as to his or her capacity to be impartial, including, but not limited to, bias or prejudice toward a party, lawyer, or law firm in the arbitration; or
(C) Otherwise leads the arbitrator to believe that his or her disqualification will further the interests of justice.
(c) [Inability to conduct or timely complete proceedings] In addition to the matters that must be disclosed under subdivision (b), an arbitrator must also disclose:
(1) If the arbitrator is not able to properly perceive the evidence or properly conduct the proceedings because of a permanent or temporary physical impairment; and
(2) Any constraints on his or her availability known to the arbitrator that will interfere with his or her ability to commence or complete the arbitration in a timely manner.
(d) [General provisions] For purposes of this standard:
(1) (Obligation regarding extended family relationships) An arbitrator will be deemed to have complied with the obligation to inform himself or herself of and to disclose relationships involving his or her extended family and former spouse if the arbitrator (i) declares in writing that he or she has sought information about these relationships from the members of his or her immediate family and any members of his or her extended family living in his or her household and (ii) has disclosed all the information pertaining to these relationships within his or her knowledge.
(2) (Collective bargaining cases excluded) The terms "cases" and "any arbitration" do not include collective bargaining cases or arbitrations conducted under or arising out of collective bargaining agreements between employers and employees or between their respective representatives.
(3) (Offers of employment or professional relationship) An arbitrator is not required to disclose an offer of employment or professional relationship from a party or lawyer in the arbitration or a lawyer or law firm that is currently associated in the private practice of law with a lawyer in the arbitration if the arbitrator has informed the parties about the offer and has sought their consent as required by subdivision (d) of standard 10.
(4) (Names of parties in cases) When information, including names of parties, is disclosed about a case, in order to preserve confidentiality, it is sufficient to give the name of any party who is not a party to the pending arbitration as "claimant" or "respondent" if the party is an individual and not a business or corporate entity.
(e) [Continuing duty] An arbitrator's duty to inform himself or herself of and to disclose the matters described in subdivisions (b) and (c) of this standard, except those matters described in subdivision (b)(12) of this standard, is a continuing duty, applying from service of the notice of the arbitrator's proposed nomination or appointment until the conclusion of the arbitration proceeding. With regard to matters enumerated in subdivision (b)(12) of this standard, after making the initial disclosure required by subdivision (f) of this standard in an arbitration, an arbitrator does not have a continuing duty to inform himself or herself of or to disclose these matters in that arbitration.
(f) [Time of disclosure] Within the time specified in Code of Civil Procedure section 1281.9(b), a proposed neutral arbitrator must disclose all matters in subdivisions (b) and (c) of this standard of which the arbitrator is then aware. Except for matters described in subdivision (b)(12) of this standard, if an arbitrator subsequently becomes aware of a matter that must be disclosed under either subdivision (b) or (c) of this standard, the arbitrator must disclose that matter to the parties as soon as practicable, but in no event more than 10 calendar days after the arbitrator becomes aware of the matter.

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Standard 9. Duty to refuse gift, bequest, or favor
(a) An arbitrator must not, under any circumstances, accept a gift, bequest, favor, or honoraria from a party or any other person or entity whose interests are reasonably likely to come before the arbitrator in the arbitration.
(b) From service of notice of appointment or appointment until two years after the conclusion of the arbitration, an arbitrator must not, under any circumstances, accept a gift, bequest, favor, or honoraria from a party or any other person or entity whose interests have come before the arbitrator in the arbitration.
(c) An arbitrator must discourage members of his or her family residing in his or her household from accepting a gift, bequest, favor, or honoraria that the arbitrator would be prohibited from accepting under subdivisions (a) or (b).
(d) This standard does not prohibit an arbitrator from demanding or receiving a fee for services or expenses.

Standard 10. Duties and limitations regarding future professional relationships or employment
(a) [Offers as lawyer, expert witness, or consultant] From the time of appointment until the conclusion of the arbitration, an arbitrator must not entertain or accept any offers of employment or new professional relationships as a lawyer, an expert witness, or a consultant from a party or a lawyer in the pending arbitration or a lawyer or law firm that is currently associated in the private practice of law with a lawyer in the arbitration.
(b) [Offers for other employment or professional relationships] In addition to the disclosures required by standard 7, within the time specified in subdivision (b) of Code of Civil Procedure section 1281.9, a proposed arbitrator must disclose whether or not he or she will entertain offers of employment or new professional relationships in any capacity other than as a lawyer, expert witness, or consultant from a party, a lawyer in the arbitration, or a lawyer or law firm that is currently associated in the private practice of law with a lawyer in the arbitration while that arbitration is pending, including offers to serve as a dispute resolution neutral in another case. A party may disqualify the arbitrator based on this disclosure by serving a notice of disqualification in the manner and within the time specified in Code of Civil Procedure section 1281.91(b).
(c) [Acceptance of offers prohibited unless intent disclosed] If an arbitrator fails to make the disclosure required by subdivision (b) of this standard or if, in the disclosure made pursuant to subdivision (b), the arbitrator states that he or she will not entertain offers of employment or new professional relationships from the time of appointment until the conclusion of the arbitration, the arbitrator must not entertain or accept any such offers, including offers to serve as a dispute resolution neutral.

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(e) [Relationships and use of confidential information related to the arbitrated case] An arbitrator must not at any time,
(1) Without the informed written consent of all parties, enter into any professional relationship or accept any professional employment as a lawyer, an expert witness, or a consultant relating to the case arbitrated; or
(2) Without the informed written consent of the party, enter into any professional relationship or accept employment in another matter in which information that he or she has received in confidence from a party by reason of serving as an arbitrator in a case is material.

Standard 11. Conduct of proceeding
(a) An arbitrator must conduct the arbitration fairly, promptly, and diligently and in accordance with the applicable law relating to the conduct of arbitration proceedings.
(b) In making the decision, an arbitrator must not be swayed by partisan interests, public clamor, or fear of criticism.

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