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Coronavirus Impact on Arbitration & OHO Hearings

Arbitration & Mediation Hearings

In response to the evolving coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), FINRA has decided to administratively postpone all in-person arbitration and mediation proceedings scheduled through October 2, 2020 unless the parties stipulate to proceed telephonically or by Zoom or the panel orders that the hearings will take place telephonically or by Zoom. If you have an in-person hearing or mediation session scheduled through this date, you will be contacted by FINRA staff to reschedule or discuss remote scheduling options. Please note that postponing a hearing will not affect other case deadlines. All case deadlines will continue to apply and must be timely met unless the parties jointly agree otherwise. We recognize that this decision may cause inconvenience and we do not make it lightly. We are taking this preventative action out of an abundance of caution, in the interest of public safety. The well-being of our FINRA employees, arbitrators, stakeholders and communities is of paramount importance.

Further, FINRA will waive postponement fees when parties stipulate to adjourn in-person hearing dates scheduled from October 5 through December 31, 2020. To avoid postponement fees, parties must provide written notice of the stipulation to adjourn more than 20 days prior to the first scheduled hearing date. Parties stipulating to adjourn in-person hearing dates should also consider stipulating to changing other case deadlines.

As noted above, FINRA Dispute Resolution offers virtual hearing services (via Zoom and teleconference) to parties in all cases by joint agreement or by panel order. These services provide high-quality, secure, user-friendly options for conducting video and telephonic hearings and sharing documents remotely. Staff is available to schedule virtual hearings and provide technical support. Staff is available to schedule virtual hearings and provide technical support, and also makes available a Virtual Hearing Guide for Arbitrators. Parties that are interested in exploring this option are encouraged to contact their Case Administrator for details.


OHO Hearings

In response to COVID-19, the Office of Hearing Officers (OHO) has administratively postponed all in-person hearings of Disciplinary Proceedings scheduled through October 2, 2020. Parties with hearings scheduled through this date will be contacted by OHO staff to reschedule or discuss remote scheduling options. Please note that postponing a hearing will not affect other deadlines established in the Disciplinary Proceeding. All scheduled deadlines will continue to apply and must be timely met unless the Hearing Officer orders otherwise. We are taking this preventative action out of an abundance of caution, in the interest of public safety.

OHO offers virtual hearing services (via Zoom) to parties in Disciplinary Proceedings, by order of the Hearing Officer. These services provide high-quality, secure, user-friendly options for conducting video hearings and sharing documents remotely. OHO staff is available to schedule virtual hearings and provide technical support, and also makes available a Virtual Hearing Guide for Parties. Parties that are interested in exploring this option are encouraged to contact the OHO Case Administrator assigned to their proceedings for details.

Expedited Proceedings generally are not conducted in person. Thus, Expedited Proceedings will proceed as scheduled.

While working remotely, OHO will serve and accept service of notices, orders, pleadings, and other documents, in both Disciplinary and Expedited Proceedings, by email.

Parties with questions about these or any other aspects of pending cases should contact the OHO Case Administrator assigned to their proceedings.