Delaware Adopts Rapid Arbitration Act

April 15, 2015

Publication| Real Estate Services

On April 2, 2015, Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed into law the Delaware Rapid Arbitration Act (DRAA), a new, specialized arbitration statute. This legislation provides a quick and inexpensive process for starting an arbitration proceeding, accelerates the arbitration itself to ensure a swift resolution, eliminates confirmation proceedings, and allows for either contractual rights to appeal or challenges directly to the Delaware Supreme Court.

The DRAA was designed to address resolution of disputes, including those involving real estate, where sophisticated parties need no-nonsense, swift resolution. The new arbitration process may not be used to resolve disputes involving certain homeowners’ association issues or disputes involving consumers, and it may only be invoked against parties who sign an express agreement to arbitrate under the Act. One of the parties to the arbitration must be a Delaware business entity, but not necessarily located in Delaware.

The DRAA was developed by an interdisciplinary team of arbitration practitioners led by Delaware’s Chief Justice Leo E. Strine Jr., Delaware’s Chancellor Andre G. Bouchard, and Delaware’s Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock. Richards, Layton & Finger lawyers also played key roles in developing the DRAA: Two of our partners were deeply involved in drafting the statute, and a third played a principal role in drafting the proposed model rules. For additional information on the Act and its practical application, please visit our website.

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