Arguments For and Against the Arbitration Fairness Act
Thursday, September, 15, 2011
The Arbitration Fairness Act was introduced into the 2009 session of the United States Congress in order to respond to increasing criticism of arbitration agreements that are signed before any dispute arises. Such agreements have become common over the past few decades, particularly in the area of employment contracts and consumer agreement for services such as cell phone access.
In many cases, the arbitration specified in such contracts was mandatory and binding. Those who support the Arbitration Fairness Act maintain that this amounts to participants being required to participate in arbitration even though they are unwilling. Criticism of mandatory arbitration also includes the contention that in many cases, those who sign arbitration agreements do not realize that they are waiving their right to pursue their claim in a judicial forum such as a court of law.
Arguments Against the Arbitration Fairness Act
The Arbitration Fairness Act did not pass Congress in 2009. This is partly because of a tacit understanding on the part of lawmakers that arbitration itself has a long history that has sometimes been disregarded by the courts. In fact, the Federal Arbitration Act itself was first passed in 1925 in response to reversing the problem of "longstanding judicial hostility to arbitration agreements" and to "to place arbitration agreements upon the same footing as other contracts."