WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) today presented the 2009 Research Award to the Searle Civil Justice Institute at Northwestern University School of Law for its in-depth empirical research on consumer arbitrations.
“Searle’s research has become an invaluable resource in the policy debate over pending Congressional legislation to ban pre-dispute arbitration agreements in consumer and other contracts,” said ILR President Lisa Rickard. “Its analysis proved that arbitration continues to provide consumers with fair, inexpensive and unbiased access to justice across the broadest spectrum of consumer disputes.”
In March 2009, the Searle Center’s Consumer Arbitration Task Force released its preliminary report, “Consumer Arbitration Before the American Arbitration Association,” the most comprehensive empirical research project to date on the use of consumer arbitration. The task force looked at a broad array of disputes, including credit card cases and cases involving products and services across the economy.
In the arbitrations analyzed, consumers paid an average of $96 in cases with claims seeking less than $10,000 and won relief in more than 53% of the cases they filed. The analysis also showed that arbitrators protect consumers by strictly enforcing due process rules across a broad array of disputes, not only in credit card cases but also in cases involving products and services across the economy.
Christopher R. Drahozal, John M. Rounds Professor of Law, and Henry N. Butler, Executive Director of the Searle Center on Law, Regulation, and Economic Growth, accepted the award today on behalf of Searle at ILR’s 10th Annual Legal Reform Summit, which brought together the nation’s leading legal reform experts to discuss the problems in the civil justice system and solutions to fix them.
ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state, and local levels.
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