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Rule 1301*(a)-*(b) Cases for Submission

*(a) All cases which are now or later at issue when the amount in controversy on each cause of action stated therein (inclusive of interest, but exclusive of costs) shall be $50,000 or less, excepting those involving title to real estate, shall be submitted to and heard and decided by a board of arbitrators, consisting of three attorneys of the Bucks County Bar in active practice in this County.

*(b) Cases, whether or not at issue and regardless of amount or subject in controversy, may be referred to a board of arbitrators by agreement of reference signed by all parties or their counsel, which said agreement of reference shall define the issues involved for determination by the board, and when the respective counsel so desire, may contain stipulations with respect to facts submitted or agreed or defenses waived. In such cases, the agreement of reference shall take the place of the pleadings in the case and shall be filed of record.

Rule 1302*(g)-*(m). Administration of Arbitration

*(g) Each attorney in active practice at the Bucks County Bar shall file with the court administrator information showing whether or not he is practicing alone, is a member of a firm or is associated with one or more lawyers, and shall indicate the number of years the attorney has actively engaged in the practice of law. Upon any change in his status of practicing with or being associated with any other lawyer or lawyers, he shall immediately report such change to the court administrator who will change the list of eligible arbitrators, in accordance with the information submitted.

*(h) The court shall appoint boards of arbitration consisting of three attorneys each, taken from the list of eligible attorneys prepared pursuant to subsection (a) of this rule. The board members shall have a cumulative experience of 10 years, dating from their admission to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Board members may be generally excused from service by the court administrator for illness, incapacity or due to being a full time county or court employee.

*(i) No more than one member of a family, firm or association shall serve on a panel on the same arbitration day. The panel member with the earliest admission to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania shall serve as Chairman.

*(j) The court administrator shall notify all arbitrators so chosen of the day on which they shall serve.

*(k) Arbitrators so appointed to specific panels may be excused by the court administrator for good cause shown. Arbitrators who fail to appear for service within 30 minutes of the appointed time will be replaced, and will not be compensated.

*(l) Each member of a panel shall be paid the sum of $225 for each day's service, provided that all awards made by the panel on that day are filed with the prothonotary.

*(m) Each member of a panel shall be paid the sum of $50 each for each adjourned hearing scheduled after the commencement of the initial hearing, with the approval of the court administrator.

Rule 1303*(c)-*(e) Hearing. Notice

*(c) Cases for arbitration shall be ordered on the Arbitration List by praecipe filed with the prothonotary, which praecipe shall comply with the same requirements and contain the same matters as provided in Rule *261, except that the provisions of Rule *261 shall not be deemed applicable where an agreement of reference has been filed. On the first working day of each month the prothonotary shall deliver to the court administrator all praecipes filed in the preceding month.

*(d) It shall be the duty of the court administrator to supervise all cases submitted for arbitration to assure their prompt disposition. The court administrator shall fix the time and place for the hearing, which time shall not be less than 45 days after the case is placed on the list of cases to be arbitrated, and which time shall date from the date the praecipe is filed in the prothonotary's office.

The court administrator shall schedule as many cases for one day as may be conveniently heard by however many arbitration panels are required, the number to be decided by the court administrator. Continuances shall be granted only by the court administrator for good cause shown on notice to the parties or their attorneys. Upon failure of a party to appear at the scheduled arbitration hearing, when the court administrator has a record of sending notice, the arbitrators shall proceed and render such award as may be appropriate.

*(e) Any party in the action may raise questions of the matter being arbitrable under this rule or the composition of the board preliminarily by notifying the court administrator in writing with notice to opposing counsel. The Court or judge thereof shall decide such questions before the matter is heard by the Board on the merits. Failure to raise such questions within 10 days of the receipt of notice of such appointment constitutes a waiver thereof.

Rule 1304*(d) Conduct of Hearing.

Generally The Board of Arbitrators, or a majority thereof, shall conduct the hearing before them with due regard to the law and according to the established rules of evidence, and shall have the powers conferred upon them by the Acts of Assembly governing arbitration proceedings, including but not limited to the following:

(1) To issue subpoenas to witnesses to appear before the board and to issue an attachment according to the practice of the courts for failure to comply therewith. A subpoena may be issued by one arbitrator.

(2) To compel the production of all books, papers and documents which they shall deem material to the case.

(3) To administer oaths or affirmations to witnesses, to determine the admissibility of evidence, to permit testimony to be offered by depositions and to decide the law and the facts of the case submitted to them.

Rule 1305(b)*(5) Conduct of Hearing. Evidence

Except for hospital bills and records submitted on official letterhead of a hospital, all bills, records and reports submitted under section (b)(1) and (3) of this rule shall be duly verified.

Rule 1306*(a) . Award

In the instance of all parties to an arbitration case agreeing to a settlement, but desiring an award to be entered, two courses of action are available:

(1) One party, or his attorney, may appear before a panel of arbitrators to present an agreed award, to which other counsel or unrepresented parties have expressed confirmation in writing to the court administrator.

(2) All parties, or their attorneys, may sign a stipulation which states exactly the form the award shall take. This stipulation shall be sent to the court administrator before the scheduled hearing date, so that the stipulation may be presented to a panel of arbitrators.

Rule 1308*(d)-*(e). Appeal

*(d) When an appeal from an award is taken in accordance with Pa.R.C.P. 1308:

(1) The party appealing the award shall file, at the same time the notice of appeal is filed, an omnibus praecipe for trial, and

(2) The total fees per case under this rule are declared to be $300 for the purpose of this section, provided however, that if the appellant should improve his position by reason of a jury verdict, or by a judge sitting without a jury, or by reason of a settlement in which the appellant improves his position by an amount equal to or greater than 10% of the principal amount of the award, then the appellant, upon application to the Court, shall be entitled to a refund of two-thirds of the fees paid on appeal.

*(e) Any party may file exceptions with the Court from the decision of the board of arbitrators within 20 days from the filing of the report for either or both of the following reasons and for no other:

(1) That the arbitrators misbehaved themselves in the conduct of the case;

(2) That the action of the board was procured by corruption or other undue means.

If such exceptions shall be sustained the report of the board shall be vacated by the Court.