Arbitration has been moving online over time with the growth of the Internet and Online Dispute Resolution (ODR), which includes use of technology to assist online negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and variations thereof. Online Arbitration (OArb) is nonetheless a unique subset of ODR because it usually culminates in a final and binding award by a neutral third party that is enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). Indeed, I have written about OArb on prior occasions, due to its unique status under the FAA and other arbitration laws. However, OArb was relatively limited until the Covid-19 pandemic sparked the acceleration of arbitration’s move online.
At the same time, jurisprudence around the FAA in the United States has sent various signals that both help and hinder the growth of OArb. Furthermore, the 1925 FAA was not built to address innovations like virtual hearings. This has created need for policies that adapt for technological progress.
Accordingly, this Article discusses how recent jurisprudence and institutional promulgations may impact OArb, and offers considerations for courts, policymakers and practitioners shepherding OArb development. The article is forthcoming in the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution in early 2021. Nonetheless, an unedited draft is currently available as the University of Missouri School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2020-27, at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3699778.