The law did not look kindly on arbitration in its infancy. As a process by which two or more parties could agree to have an impartial outsider resolve a dispute between them, arbitration was seen as a usurpation of the judiciary' sown functions, as an attempt to "oust the courts of jurisdiction." That was the English view, and American courts were similarly hostile. They would not order specific performance of an executory (unperformed) agreement to arbitrate, nor grant more than nominal damages for the usual breach. Only an arbitral award actually issued was enforceable at common law. All this began to change in the 1920s, with the enactment of state statutes to govern commercial arbitration, the adoption of the first Uniform Arbitration Act, and the passage by Congress in 1925 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). Courts thereafter would enforce an agreement to arbitrate future disputes.
Publication Information & Recommended Citation
St. Antoine, Theodore J. "The Law of Arbitration." In Labor Arbitration under Fire, edited by J. L. Stern and J. M. Najita, 1-41. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press, 1997.