McMahon Turns Twenty: The Regulation of Fairness in Securities Arbitration

28 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2007 Last revised: 30 Jun 2010


In light of the twentieth anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Shearson v. McMahon enforcing a pre-dispute arbitration clause in a brokerage customer's account agreement, the author revisits the assumptions of the McMahon Court supporting its conclusion that arbitration is fair to investors. The article first explores the various sources of law, including the Federal Arbitration Act, which could require fairness in securities arbitration. The article then examines the Securities and Exchange Commission's oversight of securities arbitration, particularly in the last ten years. The article concludes that the SEC sufficiently regulates the fairness of securities arbitration, and thus the McMahon paradigm appears to be working.

Keywords: arbitration, securities arbitration, arbitration fairness, McMahon

JEL Classification: K22, K10

Suggested Citation

Gross, Jill, McMahon Turns Twenty: The Regulation of Fairness in Securities Arbitration. University of Cincinnati Law Review, Vol. 76, No. 2, 2007, Available at SSRN:

Jill Gross (Contact Author)

Pace Law School ( email )

78 North Broadway
White Plains, NY 10603
United States

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