Magazine article Dispute Resolution Journal

Issues and Answers

Magazine article Dispute Resolution Journal

Issues and Answers

Article excerpt

From the President of the American Arbitration Association (AAA)

As I have sometimes done in the past, I am going to use this space in the Dispute Resolution journal to respond to questions directed to the Association which address issues of pressing importance to us as an organization and to the field of conflict resolution in general.

* What is the AAA policy regarding certification of class actions?

Only courts have the authority to certify class action lawsuits. The law is extremely clear on this subject. An arbitrator cannot determine class action status either initially, or as an additional issue after a case has been filed. Consequently, if the AAA receives a demand for arbitration that asks for class action certification, the case will be rejected. I should point out that in California, based on case law, courts can refer class actions that have been certified by a judge to arbitration. The judge retains jurisdiction to approve a settlement or award.

Does the AAA endorse the revisions to the 1977 Code of Ethics for Arbitrators in Commercial Disputes, currently undergoing further change and review by the American Bar Association?

The Association supports the hard work of the Drafting Committee of the Section of Dispute Resolution of the ABA. Briefly, by way of background, the Code of Ethics was prepared jointly in 1977 by special committees of the American Bar Association and the American Arbitration Association. It was subsequently approved by both organizations and has since been the standard by which the behavior of commercial arbitrators and the process of commercial arbitration itself are measured. …

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