Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
Regarding GCA Arbitrations and Procedures

What are the advantages of GCA arbitration?
Arbitration is an impartial and inexpensive method for resolving disputes between contract parties.  GCA members have saved significant amounts of money by using GCA arbitrations instead of more costly legal proceedings.

Who initiates an arbitration, the buyer or the seller, and how?

Either party to a contract may demand arbitration on any tendered portion of a contract, unless provided for otherwise in the contract.  Demands for arbitration forms are available at the GCA offices.  One party files and the other is given the opportunity to answer.  If both parties agree on a statement of the facts and issues in dispute, they may file jointly.  After all statements and replies have been submitted, the Secretary convenes an arbitration panel to conduct an arbitration.

Is it necessary to be a member of the GCA to arbitrate?
It is not necessary to be a member to arbitrate, however, being a member means paying lower arbitration fees.

How are arbitrators designated?
Based on the nature of the controversy, the GCA Secretary determines which classification of arbitrators shall be selected from a list of Official Arbitrators maintained by the GCA.  The secretary removes from this list any individuals known to be directly or indirectly connected with either party.  Each panel consists of three arbitrators chosen by lot.

How is impartiality maintained?
Each selected arbitrator is directed to state to the Secretary that there is no circumstances known to him/her, which does or might create any bias or appearance of bias or interest on his part and that there is no fact known to him/her, which might disqualify him/her.  He/She also must state that he/she is knowledgeable about the type of coffee at issue in a quality arbitration or the subject matter at issue in a technical arbitration.

What types of arbitrators are there and can the parties be present?

There are two types or arbitration: quality and technical.  Parties may only appear at hearings on technical issues.

What happens during an oral hearing?

Can one bring an attorney?  Each party has the right to be heard, present evidence pertinent and relevant to the issues and cross-examine witnesses, if any.  Any party may be represented by counsel upon proper notification.

How are the issues of grade or quality resolved?
Variations from the grade or cup quality described in the contract are the only basis for a grade or quality arbitration.  An official sampler draws samples on behalf of the Association.  The arbitrators grade and cup coffee on a blind basis without knowing the identities of the parties involved or having any identification such as marks, lot numbers, or vessel names from the samples submitted.

Can decisions be appealed?
Either party to an arbitration may appeal the original award, in which case a new panel of 3-5 arbitrators is convened.

This is intended only as a summation.  For more information, please contact the
Green Coffee Association, Inc.

Click here to download the pdf for the "Rules of Arbitration"

Click here to download the pdf for Form “A” 1 - Technical

Click here to download the pdf for Form “A” 2 Grade or Quality

Click here to download the pdf for Form “B” 1 Technical Answer

Click here to download the pdf for Form “B” 2 Answer Grade or Quality

Click here to download the pdf for Form "C" No Arbitration Clause Submission

Click here to download the pdf for Form "D" Notice of Appeal

Click here to download the pdf for Form “E” 1 Arbitration Award

Click here to download the pdf for Form "E" 2 Appeal Award

Click here to download the pdf for Form "F" Oath of Arbitrators


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