Edward A. Dauer

Document Type



Adhesive consumer arbitration agreements pose questions that go beyond the problems of adhesion contracting generally. This essay describes why standard-form consumer arbitration requirements may be particularly troublesome. Despite its superficial neutrality, arbitration between individual consumers and business entities may be systematically more favorable to the business entities. The rules of arbitration law, however, inhibit effective judicial policing of the consequences of those inequalities. The federal sources of arbitration law further diminish the ability of state-based contract law to police the more subtle abuses. The result is a particularly difficult jurisprudential problem with a specially weakened legal solution. This essay offers, in very general terms, a framework for thinking about this problem, focusing on the role of judicial oversight in a world of privatized dispute resolution.