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Internet Governance Glossary


4.3 Arbitration

A faster, simpler, and cheaper mechanism of settling disputes in place of traditional courts.


The use of an arbitration mechanism (which is usually set out in a private contract with parties agreeing to settle any future disputes through arbitration) as the main Internet dispute settlement mechanism has particular advantages in regard to one of the most difficult tasks in Internet-related court cases, namely the enforcement of decisions (awards).
But it also has a few serious limitations:

  • Since arbitration is usually established by prior agreement, it does not cover a wide area of issues when no agreement between parties has been set in advance (libel, various types of responsibilities, Internet misuse or cybercrime).

Many view the current practice of attaching an arbitration clause to regular contracts disadvantageous for the weaker side in the contract (usually an Internet user or an eCommerce customer).