Authority and Duties of Arbitrators
(a) Authority of Arbitrators. The arbitrator shall at all times be authorized to control the hearing and the procedures to be followed.
(b) Duties. The arbitrator shall set up the arbitration hearing. The arbitrator shall define and describe the following to the parties:
(1) The non-binding arbitration process, including the difference between arbitration and other forms of conflict resolution;
(2) The duties and responsibilities of the arbitrator and the parties; and
(3) The cost of the arbitration hearing.
(c) Arbitrator Not to be Called as Witness. The arbitrator shall not be compelled by subpoena or otherwise to divulge any records or to testify in regard to the arbitration in any adversary proceeding or judicial forum. All records, reports and other documents received by the arbitrator while serving in that capacity shall be confidential.
(d) Duty of Impartiality/Disclosure. The arbitrator has a duty to be impartial and to disclose any circumstance likely to affect impartiality or independence, including any bias, prejudice or financial or personal interest in the result of the arbitration or any past or present relationship with the parties or their representatives.
(e) Reporting Results of Hearing. Within ten (10) days of conclusion of the hearing as set forth in Rule 12(c), the arbitrator shall file with the Clerk of Court Proof of ADR on a form approved by the Supreme Court or its designee. South Carolina Court Administration or the South Carolina Commission on Alternative Dispute Resolution may require the arbitrator to provide additional statistical data for evaluation of the program.
(f) Immunity. The arbitrator shall have immunity from liability to the same extent afforded judicial officers of this state.