Scheduling the Arbitration Hearing
BCA will schedule an arbitration hearing after consulting with the parties and the arbitrator, taking into consideration the convenience of the parties and witnesses. You will be notified of the date, time, and place at least 10 days in advance. If you are not satisfied with the choice of hearing date, time or place, you should contact BCA immediately and we will try to reschedule it. However, BCA retains the right to make the final scheduling decision.
Most likely this will be the only hearing you will need to attend; however, some cases may require one or more additional hearings.
Attendance at the Hearing
An arbitration hearing is usually attended by the parties by phone via teleconferencing services, but if you so request, BCA may arrange for you to present your case by in person or in writing. In the case of a telephone hearing, you must submit to BCA at least seven days before the hearing any written documents you will use as evidence. BCA will then provide these to the other party in advance of the hearing.
Besides the parties, witnesses, any interpreters, technical experts, and the arbitrator, BCA may allow other of its arbitrators or government representatives to attend a hearing. BCA will make a final decision as to attendance of any other person(s) after determining that neither the arbitrator nor any other party objects and that reasonable accommodations exist for such attendance. Any and all persons in attendance must submit to BCA’s conduct requirements, which include showing courtesy and respect to all present and refraining from loud or offensive language.
Any outside person in attendance may take notes but may not, unless approved by BCA, use equipment including, but not limited to, lights, cameras or other video or audio recording equipment.
Failure to Attend the Hearing
Should you fail to attend a hearing except for good cause, the hearing may proceed without you. The arbitrator will most likely first try to reschedule it or ask you to submit your case in writing, but s/he has the discretion to decide the case without your attendance or presentation.
How to Prepare for the Hearing
Come to the hearing prepared to present your case (generally in chronological order of the events relevant to it) and whatever evidence supports your facts. You may make notes as to the order in which you want to present your points and then ask your questions of the other party.
The evidence you use to support your case may consist of testimony from anyone who was present at the time of the transaction or can in any way testify to the truth of your statements; or writings, such as the contract relating to the matter in dispute and any other documents, bills, receipts, correspondence, etc., that support your claim. (Bring original written materials, if you can, plus a copy each for the arbitrator and the other party.)
It’s important to be aware that evidence may not be introduced after the hearing unless it was not possible to introduce it at the time of the hearing. No evidence may be brought in after the arbitrator has decided the case.
You may ask BCA to request that the arbitrator subpoena any witness or evidence relevant to your case. You will need to specify, in your request, the relevance of the testimony or other evidence and why you believe a subpoena is necessary. If the arbitrator agrees to your request, a subpoena will be issued and served. The party requesting the subpoena is responsible for any costs involved in its issuance, service, or enforcement.
If you wish to use the findings of a technical expert to support your case, you may employ an expert, at your own expense, to inspect the product or service in dispute and present his/her findings either in writing or in person. In any case, you will have an opportunity to evaluate and comment on the expert’s qualifications and findings.
Either party or the arbitrator may request an inspection of the product or service that is the subject of your dispute. The inspection may be conducted as part of the hearing or at a later date. Unless waived by all parties, each party must receive at least eight days’ notice before the inspection.
Conduct of the Hearing
The hearing will afford the parties the opportunity to present their side of the dispute, supported by testimony of witnesses and any technical expert they may wish to employ and documentary evidence they wish to present, and to question the other party. Either party or both may also be asked questions by the arbitrator. Both will also have the opportunity to summarize their case and make a closing statement. All parties and witnesses will be under oath at the hearing.
If a party requires an interpreter and is unable to provide one, BCA will seek a volunteer. BCA is not required to provide an interpreter for the hearing.
Although the hearing is informal and doesn’t require any legal expertise or arguing skills on your part, you are expected to present only what is factual and relevant to your case and to do so courteously. If you prefer to have an attorney or another person represent you, you may do so at your own expense. If your representative is an attorney, you must notify BCA of the attorney’s name and address at least eight days before the hearing, after which BCA will inform the other parties of your legal representation. If BCA does not have this information within the time allowed, BCA may reschedule the hearing.
You may present to the arbitrator the written statement of a witness who cannot attend the hearing, but you must also give a copy to the other party to read and use to respond. The other party may object to the use of written statements or may request time, before the arbitrator makes a decision, to respond to any such statement or other written evidence first presented at the hearing, but the arbitrator holds the authority to accept or reject that request. You, of course, may also ask the arbitrator for additional time to respond to similar evidence not presented to you prior to the hearing. All written statements must be made under penalty of perjury.
If the arbitrator needs additional information or evidence, written or otherwise, to make a decision, s/he may order such information or evidence to be submitted either at another hearing to be scheduled or in some other appropriate manner. Written evidence shall be sent to BCA within the time specified by the arbitrator, after which BCA will send a copy to the other party for response and, after the response is received, forward both the evidence and response to the arbitrator.
If, before the arbitrator’s decision has been rendered, any party comes into possession of new information that was impossible to present at the original hearing, that party may send it to BCA and request that it be considered. BCA will first send the information to the other parties for response and then forward it, with any response(s), to the arbitrator.