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Zimmerman's Research Guide


Arbitration, Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

Arbitration is an alternative to litigation in which an arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators listen to the positions of the disputing parties in a relatively informal proceeding and then issue a decision on how the situation should be resolved. With mediation, a disinterested third party tries to help the interested parties reach a settlement that resolves their dispute. ADR is an umbrella term encompassing arbitration, mediation and other alternatives to formal legal proceedings.

This entry covers:

I. Leading Information Sources

The American Arbitration Association posts a lot of useful arbitration information. For questions, you can contact the AAA (800-778-7879).

Also, for securities-related arbitration, check out the SEC Law Arbitration Center and the Arbitration and Mediation section of the FINRA Web site or search Lexis or Westlaw (FINRA-ARB). You might also want to see the "Bibliography of Selected Securities Arbitration Resources: 1997-2007," 76 U. Cin. L. Rev. 599 (2008)

Kluwer Arbitration posts key conventions, laws, rules and cases related to commercial arbitration. For international commercial arbitration materials see International Commercial Arbitration: A Guide for U.S. Judges, Jean Wenger's International Commercial Arbitration: Locating the Resources and/or the bibliography of International Commercial Arbitration Resources in Print and Electronic Format.

For labor-related arbitration, see Researching Labor Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution in Employment by Suzanne Thorpe and Laura J. Cooper.

Juris Publishing produces a substantial catalog of arbitration materials.

The Arbitration and Mediation volumes in the Getting the Deal Through series explain key aspects of the laws of individual foreign countries.

II. Arbitration Awards

There are at least eight kinds of arbitration awards:

1. Commercial: Most commercial arbitration in the U.S. is handled by either the American Arbitration Association (AAA) or Judicial Arbitration & Mediation Services (JAMS). Their awards are not published, except for securities arbitration (see below).

2. Securities: Securities arbitration awards are searchable in the FINRA Arbitration Awards Online database. The database includes FINRA decisions from July 2007, when the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) assumed assumed the arbitration responsibilities of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) and several other exchanges. Pre-July 2008 awards from those exchanges are also included in the FINRA database.

Securities-related arbitration awards are also available from Lexis (FEDSEC;ARBAWD) and Westlaw (FSEC-ARB), generally back to 1989.

A few awards decided in 1986 and 1987 are included in the FINRA database. For other pre-1989 awards, call the relevant exchange.

3. International arbitration awards and court decisions are reported in the Yearbook Commercial Arbitration. The yearbook also publishes a report on developments in various countries, a bibliography of arbitration publications, and a list of the members of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration. The results of international arbitration between nations is reported in the United Nations' Reports of International Arbitral Awards (also available to subscribers in the United Nations Law Collection on HeinOnline). Arbitration awards from the International Center for Dispute Resolution are available on Westlaw (ICDR-ARBAWARD). AAA international arbitration awards are not publsihed.

4. Patent arbitration awards are not enforceable until notice of the award is filed with the Commissioner of the Patent and Trademark Office (under 35 USC §294). The notice is then put into the patent's file at the PTO. To find out if a notice is in the file, you can search Derwent's LitAlert database (on CD-ROM or on ProQuest Dialog) or hire a patent research company, such as Woolcott & Co. (800-223-9697) to check the file at the PTO.

5. Maritime arbitration awards are published in the Society of Maritime Arbitrators Award Service. These awards are searchable on Lexis back to 1959 (ADMRTY;USAWDS).

6. AAA Construction awards are not published.

7. Domain Name Dispute awards are available in the databases linked from ICANN's List of Approved Dispute Resolution Service Providers.

8. Labor & Employment. American Arbitration Association (AAA) arbitration awards are available through Lexis, Westlaw and the BNA Arbitration Awards Navigator (an add-on subscription to the Labor and Employment Law Center). Lexis has labor awards from 1999 to the present (LABOR;AAAEMP) and employment awards are available from 2003 to the present (LABOR;AAALAB). Westlaw has labor awards from 2009 (AAA-LAB-ARBAWARD), employment awards from 2009 (AAA-EMP-ARBAWARD) and a database where you can search both at the same time (AAA-ARBAWARD). The AAA posts Dockets and Awards for Class Action arbitrations in a Class Arbitration Case Docket database.

Labor arbitration awards are indexed by subject and summarized in the Labor Arbitration Information System (LAIS) by LRP Publications. There is an electronic version on Westlaw (LAIS), which covers awards back to 1960. Note: Before 1970, LAIS was called the Labor Arbitration Index. Also, there are regular indexes to the AAA's Summary of Labor Arbitration Awards (renamed the Labor Award Reporter starting July 2010), including a cumulative index covering 1959-1991.

Published Labor Awards: The main sources for full-text published arbitration awards are BNA's Labor Arbitration Reports and CCH's Labor Arbitration Awards, while LAIS publishes selected awards. An electronic version of CCH's Labor Arbitration Awards is available on Lexis (CCHEMP;LARAD) and Westlaw (CCH-LAA) and CCH's Intelliconnect. An electronic version of BNA's Labor Arbitration Reports on Lexis (LABOR;LRRLA), Westlaw (LRR-LA) and BNA's subscription online labor and employment system. (Note: On Westlaw, you can search Labor Arbitration Reports awards along with unpublished awards using the LA-COMB file).

Labor arbitration awards are also published or summarized in BNA's Government Employee Relations Report and the AAA's Labor Arbitration in Government, Arbitration in the Schools, and Summary of Labor Arbitration Awards (now the Labor Awards Reporter, since July 2010).

Unpublished Labor Awards: "Unpublished" awards are available from (1) ARBIT on Westlaw, (2) BNA's Unpublished Arbitration Decisions, which is also available on Westlaw (LA-UNP); and (3) Arbitrator Qualification Reports, available in print or through the R.C. Simpson web site. (Note: On Westlaw, you can search Unpublished Arbitration Decisions along with Labor Arbitration Reports awards in the LA-COMB file).

Arbitration awards by the National Mediation Board (involving labor disputes in the railroad and airline industries) are available in the NMB Knowledge Store back to about 1990 (free), which also includes decisions of the National Railroad Adjustment Board (NRAB), the Public Law Board (PLB) and the Special Board of Adjustment (SBA). For decisions and opinion letters back to 1935, use Lexis (LABOR;NMB) or Westlaw (FLB-NMB for just NMB decisions and opinion letter; FLB-ADMIN to search with employment decisions of other Federal agencies).

Labor rbitration awards for the railroad and airline industries are also available through the Airline Arbitration Awards Database (AAAD) and the Passenger Railroad Database (PRD) published by F&H Solutions Group.

Citation formats: CCH uses the citation format: 04-1 ARB ¶ 3765. BNA uses the format: 130 LA 837 (Arb. 2012). See also the formats in the Shepardizing section, below.

Shepardizing Labor Awards: You can Shepardize citations from any of the published sources using Shepard's Labor Arbitration Citations in print or on Lexis, using the format: "xx-x lab. arb. awards (cch) Pxxxx" or "xxx lab. arb. rep. (bna) xxx".

For more about labor and employment arbitration awards, see Researching Labor Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution in Employment by Suzanne Thorpe and Laura J. Cooper.

Another source: Various arbitration awards are filed in U.S. Federal and state courts. You can search collections of those court-filed awards on Westlaw (xx-ARBAWARD for awards filed in a particular state or COURTARB-ALL to search all available awards).

III. Arbitration and Mediation Rules

The American Arbitration Association (AAA) publishes rules for Commercial, Labor and Patent arbitration, and many others. The current versions are posted free on the AAA's Rules & Procedures page. AAA rules are searchable on Lexis and on Westlaw.

For securities arbitration, FINRA follows rules adopted from the NYSE and the NASD, although they are now adopting their own. All these rules are available through FINRA's Rules page. Current and historical NASD and NYSE rules are searchable on Westlaw. Note: FINRA also posts a Code of Arbitration Procedure.

The U.S. Copyright Office's CARP and Licensing Information page links to the Rules and Regulations of the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panels, plus a lot of other information related to copyright arbitration.

The Society for Maritime Arbitrators posts rules for both arbitration and mediation. The Society's arbitration rules are republished in Domke on Commercial Arbitration and the related Westlaw database (DOMSMA-RULES).

The arbitration and mediation rules of the Society of Maritime Arbitrators are posted on the Society Web site.

The Mediation Procedures and the Non-Administered and International Non-Administered Arbitration Rules of the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution are posted in the "CPR Clauses, Rules, Codes & Procedures" section of the Institute Web site.

The Arbitration Rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) are are posted on the International Commercial Arbitration & Conciliation page of the UNCITRAL web site. They are also published in the supplement to Oehmke's International Arbitration. See also "United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)."

The Arbitration Rules for the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and its International Court of Arbitration are posted on the ICC Web site (www.iccwbo.org). Or you get the rules as printed pamphlets by calling ICC Publishing (212-206-1150). The ICC rules are reprinted and discussed in detail in A Guide to the New ICC Rules of Arbitration (Kluwer Law International) and the Handbook of ICC Arbitration: Commentary, Precedents, Materials, which includes annotations (Thomson/West). See also "International Chamber of Commerce."

The National Mediation Board posts mediation rules, which are also published in Title 29, Chapter 10, Part 1201 et seq. of the Code of Federal Regulations, as well as arbitration rules.

The German Institution of Arbitration posts its rules in English and several other languages on the the "Schiedsgerichtsordnung (SchO) / Arbitration Rules (Rules)" page. You can also get their rules in English from Westlaw (DIS-ARBRULES) if you don't mind paying.

Note: The Critical Documents Sourcebook Annotated includes many types or rules for international arbitration. Many other kinds of arbitration rules are available in the Handbook of Arbitration Practice.

For arbitration relating to letters of credit, see "Letters of Credit."

IV. Treaties and Conventions

The U.S. Department of State posts links to UNCITRAL materials and other treaties concerning international arbitration, as does UNCITRAL. The Inter-American Convention on International Commercial Arbitration is published in Martindale-Hubbell. An annotated edition of the New York Convention (the UN Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards) and the Washington Convention (the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States) are posted for subscribers on the Kluwer Arbitration page.

See Also
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
Foreign Laws
International Chamber of Commerce
International Law
International Trade
Letters of Credit
Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)
Treaties - Foreign
Treaties - U.S.
United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)

For comments, questions and suggestions, email the author
Copyright 2015 Andrew Zimmerman