Law Quarterly

What is Arbitration and Why Should I Care?

Sep
27

Most can agree that Netflix has become somewhat of a college staple, but unlike ramen or coffee, its enjoyment is accompanied by an esoteric legal issue. For those that have an account, think back to when it was first created. When prompted with the terms and conditions, did you take the time to fully read over their contents? The majority would sneer at that concept, but in that dreary block of text lays the arbitration clause (“Netflix Terms of Use”): a provision denying users the right to trial by jury or participate in class action lawsuits against the company. While seemingly a very nefarious manipulation of words, these clauses, as interpreted by the courts, are for the most part beneficial to society. (more…)

The Problem of Judicial Efficiency

Sep
27

Jurisprudence has long obeyed the criteria of fidelity to body of law incorporating statutes, precedents, and of course the Constitution. The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) of 1925 was enacted in response to widespread judicial hostility to arbitration, a process by which parties refer, usually voluntarily, their disputes to be resolved informally by a third party based on the arguments and evidence they present. This has led to disagreements in recent years over whether arbitration as specified in consumer contracts are enforceable, finding its way to the Supreme Court. The issue itself isn’t arbitration, but what it entails- class-action waivers. The decisions in the cases are part of a larger trend towards judicial efficiency through arbitration and the transformation of class-action suits. (more…)