Using the Community Arbitration Council to Resolve Issues

In each community or county, a Community Arbitration Council should be set up to hear minor matters like landlord/tenant disputes, petty theft, harrassment, trespassing, vandalism, littering, etc. It would consist of 3 or 5 arbitrators who would hear evidence, then find for one side or the other, and/or offer a compromise fair to both parties. The petitioners would pay a respectable fee (enough to discourage the merely malicious), perhaps $100, for one hour before the arbitrators, much as bankruptcy court is handled today. Attorneys should be kept out of it, since they only complicate things, and demand huge fees for even simple matters.

Banks, insurance companies and others often include arbitration clauses in their contracts; in signing the contract the consumer agrees to the terms of arbitration as stated – there is no other choice, and often, there is no appeal. This is patently unjust. If one or both parties are unwilling to accept the decision of the arbitrators, they may appeal to the appropriate court. In order to motivate the parties to accept the arbitrators’ decision or recommendations, the filing fee to appeal the matter should be raised to $500 (each party).

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