Despite the ubiquity of binding arbitration clauses in consumer contracts, I am unable to find a single example of an actual consumer arbitration proceeding (emails, exhibits, hearing, etc.). This is in contrast to litigation, where millions of dockets are available via PACER.

This is surprising as the American Arbitration Association consumer rules do not impose any sort of confidentiality restrictions on the consumer.

What explains the lack of public arbitration proceedings?


1 Answer 1


Because they are private

Not private in the sense of confidential, although many are confidential (if agreed by the parties) and the arbitrator is always under a duty of confidence. Rather, private in the sense that they are conducted by private people and organisations who have no obligation to publish or publicise the results.

Since most people pay on the decision, most arbitrations never go near a public court and therefore never get published.

  • But absolutely no one decided to publish? I get that the private-by-default nature adds a lot of friction, so you wouldn’t expect to see millions or thousands of dockets, but it’s still hard to believe not a single consumer over the last decade decided to publish their proceedings for the common good. May 7, 2021 at 14:47
  • @JoshJohnson just because you (or anyone else) can’t find them, doesn’t mean they aren’t there. It’s a big internet.
    – Dale M
    May 7, 2021 at 22:14

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