Arbitration sounds fair, but forced arbitration is the exact opposite

This post was originally published on Hightower Lowdown and can be found here.

Arbitration sounds fair, but forced arbitration is the exact opposite

Corporate kangaroo courts have quietly usurped our constitutional right to trial by judge and jury

Edited by Jim Hightower and Phillip Frazer 

Being wronged by a corporation is painful enough, but getting your day in court is no picnic either. Aside from having to go up against a deep-pocket corporation's pack of snarling lawyers, the judicial system itself is cumbersome, slow, and costly. And to us uninitiated outsiders, a courtroom's cult-like rituals, punctilious language, and black-robed authoritarians are intimidating. No wonder so many of the workers, consumers, small businesses, and others who get stomped on by the corporate powers shy away from taking their legitimate grievances into those chambers.

Luckily, though, a less formal, alternative system is available to render justice in disputes between corporations and aggrieved citizens. Arbitration, it's called, allowing two conflicting parties to choose a neutral third party to review facts, hear-out both sides, and make a ruling to resolve the conflict. "Faster, cheaper, and more efficient!" exclaim effusive proponents of the arbitration process.

Fine, but does it deliver justice? It could, for the original concept of voluntary, face-to-face resolution of conflict--without the elaborate structure of lawyers, judges, and juries--makes sense in many cases. But remember what Mae West said of her own virtue: "I used to be Snow White, then I drifted." Likewise, today's practice of arbitration has drifted far away from the purity of the concept.

Be sure to read the full post here.