Does Rigorously Enforcing Arbitration Agreements Promote 'Autonomy'?

49 Pages Posted: 30 May 2018

See all articles by Hiro N. Aragaki

Hiro N. Aragaki

Loyola Law School (Los Angeles); SOAS School of Law (University of London)

Date Written: May 29, 2018

Abstract

In recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court has helped transform arbitration law into a radical private-ordering regime in which freedom of contract has come to eclipse public regulation. Arbitration jurisprudence justifies this transformation in part on a profound and longstanding commitment to the ideal of individual autonomy, understood as the freedom—lacking in litigation—to select a disputing process best suited to one’s needs.

In this Article, I question the cogency of this justification. I argue, first, that autonomy has had different and sometimes conflicting meanings even within arbitration jurisprudence. Second, depending on the meaning one ascribes to autonomy, it is at best uncertain whether a commitment to it requires enforcing arbitration agreements with minimal regulation by the state. Ironically, the libertarian interpretation of autonomy that lies at the heart of the Court’s recent arbitration decisions turns out to be the least adept at explaining why arbitration agreements should be “‘rigorously enforce[d]’ . . . according to their terms.” To the extent we wish to continue viewing enforcement as important for the value of autonomy in arbitration, therefore, it appears we must rethink what autonomy means in this context and whether in certain circumstances autonomy may be best promoted by refusing to enforce arbitration agreements.

Suggested Citation

Aragaki, Hiro N., Does Rigorously Enforcing Arbitration Agreements Promote 'Autonomy'? (May 29, 2018). 91 Indiana Law Journal 1143 (2016); Loyola Law School, Los Angeles Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2018-22. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3186874

Hiro N. Aragaki (Contact Author)

Loyola Law School (Los Angeles) ( email )

919 Albany Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015-1211
United States
(213) 736-1406 (Phone)
(213) 380-3769 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.lls.edu/faculty/facultylista-b/aragakihiro/

SOAS School of Law (University of London) ( email )

Thornhaugh Street
Russell Square: College Buildings 541
London, WC1H 0XG
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.soas.ac.uk/staff/staff127753.php

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
4
Abstract Views
65
PlumX Metrics
!

Under construction: SSRN citations will be offline until July when we will launch a brand new and improved citations service, check here for more details.

For more information