What is JAMS Arbitration?

Former judge Warren Knight founded JAMS in Southern California in 1979 as a for-profit corporation committed to the private resolution of commercial disputes. The organization goes by "JAMS" now but was formerly called "Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services".

The company's subsequent national and international expansion now makes it the world's largest private provider of mediation and arbitration services. All JAMS arbitrators, with very few exceptions, are full-time alternative dispute resolution (ADR) practitioners who no longer practice law, thus assuring strict independence and impartiality.

Prompt, consensual resolution of disputes is central to JAMS’s culture and identity and stems from long experience administering ADR programs for individuals, corporations, and associations. Such ADR programs are often administered by special rules, procedures, and protocols that include training of panel and staff, extensive case tracking and reporting, self-imposed quality control, and peer review standards for both professional and administrative services. 

What type of disputes do JAMS handle?

JAMS handles multi-party, complex cases in virtually all areas of the law in hearing locations throughout the world. Such matters include:

  • antitrust and competition law,
  • bankruptcy, business,
  • class action,
  • commercial construction, construction defect, engineering
  • education,
  • employment,
  • entertainment and sports,
  • environmental,
  • family
  • healthcare and insurance and reinsurance,
  • intellectual property,
  • landlord and tenant,
  • professional malpractice,
  • marital dissolution
  • personal injury,
  • real estate
  • trusts and estates 

In 2019, JAMS handled a worldwide caseload of 17,500 disputes, comprising over 6,500 arbitration filings with the remainder being mediations and hybrid processes. Of these, the cross-border caseload was roughly 380 filings, evenly split between arbitrations and mediations. JAMS has a lengthy history of engagement with online dispute resolution, accelerated by the covid-19 pandemic. During lockdown from mid-March to mid-May 2020, JAMS set over 1,000 hearings on various platforms determined by client requirements and preferences. 

Who arbitrates for JAMS?

JAMS panelists include some of the most distinguished retired judges and attorneys in Europe and the United States. Most of JAMS panelists are full-time mediators and arbitrators, which allows for the avoidance of conflicts and ease of scheduling cases. Information about JAMS arbitrators and mediators, including detailed CVs, can be found at www.jamsadr.com.

Appointment of arbitrators is governed by article 8 of JAMS International Arbitration Rules (JIAR), which, similarly to the International Chamber of Commerce, calls for party appointments. Appointed arbitrators need not be affiliated with JAMS. (All arbitrators, of course, are required to be impartial and independent.) If the parties have not agreed on the number of arbitrators, one arbitrator will be appointed unless JAMS determines in its discretion that three arbitrators are appropriate because of the size, complexity or other circumstances of the case. If the parties have agreed on a procedure for appointing the arbitrators, that procedure will be followed. If the parties have not agreed, JAMS will follow a list procedure.

How much does it cost?

JAMS arbitrators set their own hourly or daily rates. Fees range from $400–$1,200 per hour, depending on the arbitrator selected. Typically, JAMS charges a $1,750 filing fee payable by the initiating party and 12 percent of professional fees after that for administrative services. Fees are billed as the case progresses and are directly proportional to the amount of professional time devoted to the matter. Professional fees include time spent for hearings, pre-, and post-hearing reading and research and award preparation. Administrative fees include:

  • access to an international panel of judges, attorneys, and other ADR experts
  • dedicated services, including all administration through the duration of the case
  • document handling
  • on-site business support, including local phone service, internet access, and fax and copying capabilities

Administrative fees (not including conference room rentals) will not exceed US$100,000. But JAMS may adjust this cap for extraordinary cases after consultation with the parties.

For hearings of one day or less that are canceled, fees are 100 percent refundable except for any arbitrator time reserved. For hearings canceled or continued inside the cancellation–continuance period fees are non-refundable. However, the cancellation–continuance policy is set by the individual arbitrators and, therefore, may vary. This is because time reserved and canceled time cannot be replaced. In all cases involving non-refundable time, the party causing the continuance or cancellation is responsible for the cancellation charges.

JAMS will invoice for the fees of all arbitrators, whether or not the arbitrator is affiliated with JAMS. Receipt of payment for all fees is required before the delivery of an arbitration award. JAMS reserves the right to cancel a hearing if all parties do not pay fees by the applicable cancellation date and JAMS confirms the cancellation in writing.

How do I start?

  1. You will want to identify your local JAMS Resolution Center
  2. Submit the following items to JAMS with the requested number of copies:
    1.  Demand for Arbitration (2 copies)
    2. Proof of service of the Demand on the appropriate party (2 copies)
    3. The contract containing the arbitration clause (2 copies)
    4.  Initial non-refundable filing fee. For two-party matters, the filing fee is $1,200. For matters involving three or more parties, the filing fee is $2,000. The entire filing fee must be paid in full to expedite the commencement of the proceedings.
  3. After this, JAMS will begin its formal process and reach out to both parties to begin the arbitration.

If you're not sure how to go about drafting a demand for arbitration or hiring a process server to serve the other party, don't worry. Dispute can help you generate the appropriate forms in minutes for only $39 and from the comfort of your phone.

If you have any questions about the JAMS process or arbitration in general, don't hesitate to contact us.