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Functions of Arbitration

NCJ Number
Peace and Change Volume: 8 Issue: 2/3 Dated: special issue (Summer 1982) Pages: 65-72
R Coulson
Date Published
8 pages
Arbitration has four types of functions: resolving contractual disputes between management and labor, addressing interests of different parties in bargaining situations such as public sector labor relations, settling litigated claims through court-annexed programs, and resolving community disputes.
Arbitration's roots go back to early human history and predate governments' establishment of systems for resolving civil disputes. Arbitration also has a lengthy history in the United States, although an intensive effort by the American Arbitration Association was needed to gain arbitration's acceptance by American courts. Arbitration provides a procedure which is far less complex than the court process. Its advantages are the designation of expert and impartial persons to decide issues and the convenience and speed of the procedure. The law's restriction on court review of arbitrators' decisions has promoted broad use of arbitration by the business community as an alternative to the courts. Some courts have established programs whereby relatively small civil claims must go before a court-administered arbitration tribunal before they can be tried in a traditional court. Interest arbitration, which deals with bargaining demands, offers an alternative to a breakdown in public sector labor relations. Community dispute resolution programs deal with many types of conflicts and benefit both the disputants and the community. The combined use of arbitration and mediation offers a solution to the two main problems in the court system: the scarcity of court time and the court's tendency to produce win-lose decisions rather than mutually beneficial compromise. Seventeen references are listed.