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Arbitration TV Shows

If you were to ask random people if they have ever witnessed an arbitration, most would tell you no. The truth is though, almost all of us have seen several of them.


Where? Well, do you remember kind, old Judge Wapner who pioneered modern daytime courtroom TV shows with introduction of The People's Court back in 1981? Or Judge Judy? Although Joseph Wapner and Judy Scheindlin really were judges in real life, they only portrayed judges on television. The fact is, they and all of the other TV judges preside over arbitrations on television, not small claims court trials.

It is all perfectly legal because arbitration is a well-established and well-recognized alternative to small claims court, and the parties have knowingly signed arbitration agreements with the shows, agreeing to dismiss their lawsuits and have their dispute arbitrated in The People's Court, or Judge Judy's courtroom, or Judge Joe Brown's, etc.

Here is a list of the more popular shows and the arbitrators who play the role of judges.

TV ShowArbitrator ("Judge")TV Seasons
America's CourtKevin A. Ross2010-present
Animal CourtJoseph Wapner1998-2000
Christina's CourtChristina Perez2006-present
Divorce CourtVoltaire Perkins1957-1969
Divorce CourtWilliam Keene1985-1992
Divorce CourtMablean Ephriam1999-2006
Divorce CourtLynn Toler2006-present
Eye for an Eye"Extreme" Akim Anastopoulo2003-present
Family Court, Judge PennyPenny Brown Reynolds2008-present
Judge AlexAlex Ferrer » In the news ...2005-present
Judge David YoungDavid Young2007-present
Judge FaithFaith Jenkins2014-present
Judge HatchettGlenda Hatchett2000-present
Judge Jeanine PirroJeanine Ferris Pirro2008-present
Judge Joe Brown ShowJoe Brown11998-present
Judge JudyJudy Scheindlin1996-present
Judge KarenKaren Mills-Francis2008-present
Judge Maria LopezMaria Lopez2006-present
Judge MathisGreg Mathis1999-present
Judge Mills LaneMills Lane21998-2001
Moral CourtLarry Elder2000-2001
Power of AttorneyAndrew Napolitano2000-2001
Power of AttorneyLynn Toler2001-2002
Swift JusticeNancy Grace2010-2011
Swift JusticeJackie Glass32011-present
Texas JusticeLarry Joe Doherty2001-2005
The People's CourtJoseph Wapner1981-1993
The People's CourtEd Koch1997-1999
The People's CourtJerry Scheindlin1999-2001
The People's CourtMarilyn Milian2001-present

  1- In 1997, Judge Joe Brown presided over James Earl Ray's final appeal of his conviction for murdering Martin Luther King Jr.
  2- In 1997 as a professional boxing referree, Mills Lane disqualified Mike Tyson for biting off part of Evander Holyfield's ear
  3- In 2008, Judge Glass sent O.J. Simpson to prison for armed robbery and kidnapping


Arbitration is The People's Choice!

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