Court-annexed arbitration is a form of adjudicatory dispute-resolution (ADR) process in which a judge acts as an arbitrator and the arbitration follows the same procedures as followed in a regular civil case. After an expedited adversarial hearing, a panel of arbitrators will issue a non-binding judgment on the merits of a dispute.
In a court-annexed arbitration, an arbitrator's decision addresses only the disputed legal issues and applies legal standards. Those unhappy with the court-annexed arbitration can reject the non-binding ruling and proceed to trial. It is a hybrid of mediation and arbitration that involves the diversion of state trial court cases into arbitration.