This volume is a collection of essays emerging from a conference entitled Arbitration: Preparing for the Twenty-First Century that was sponsored by the ABA Section on Dispute Resolution and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York in the Fall of 1998.
While we've now all survived any anxieties about Y2K problems in the New Millennium, the precise role arbitration should play in the Twenty-First Century continues to be a matter of concern, as the process expands into ever wider consumer and employment applications. As the book points out, arbitration was actually first authorized in North America as early as 1683 (when triumvirates of "common peacemakers" with decisional authority were appointed to each district of William Penn's new colony), and has long been a mainstay in certain areas of commerce. As these essays make manifest, however, arbitration now stands poised to expand from "the periphery of the civil justice system to the center of many areas of the law".
The articles in this collection address many of the current challenges posed by the expansion of arbitration -- the tension between civil rights enforcement and employment arbitration clauses, the issues raised by punitive damage awards in securities arbitrations, the concerns about fairness that arise from imposing arbitration procedures on perhaps unwitting consumers, and the practical and ethical concerns created when mediation and arbitration are blended. The volume also includes several essays that focus on ethical codes and issues for arbitrators, and -- true to the conference's futuristic focus -- a piece addressing the concerns and possibilities raised by the prospect of on-line dispute resolution.