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Basic Issues Inherent to Online Arbitration

Tuesday, May, 3, 2011

Online arbitration currently faces a number of obstacles, most of them legal.  Agreements to engage in an online arbitration session may not be considered valid in all jurisdictions, and when the parties are from different states or nations, evidence rules may vary.  Additionally, arbitration procedures may not be uniform in the various jurisdictions, which can lead to conflicting expectations between the two parties in dispute.  Perhaps most significantly, an arbitration award can be largely useless if the local governmental authorities, including courts, are not willing to recognize and enforce it.


Online Arbitration Laws Sometimes an Obstacle


In many jurisdictions, any online agreement to enter into arbitration is suspect from the first.  This is because many law codes around the world, including international conventions, require that agreements to arbitrate be written.  The use of the term "written" does not envision an online arbitration agreement. 


However, some jurisdictions have adjusted their laws to recognize that an agreement entered into electronically can qualify as being "in writing.”  The German Arbitration Act, the Swiss PIL Act, and the English Arbitration Act are examples of law codes under which binding online arbitration could be possible. 


Another challenge involves documentation of the details of the arbitration.  The Law generally requires that such information be available for a long period afterwards.  This presents issues when it comes to electronic storage, which can become incompatible with current equipment as technology changes.


Find Arbitration Attorneys in the National Arbitration Directory.