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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International

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Working Paper

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Boston University School of Law




A restaurant meal might turn into disappointment either when good food arrives late, or when prompt service delivers bad food. The chef cannot become preoccupied with any one aspect of fine dining to the exclusion of others. Likewise, arbitral proceedings implicate proportionality and balance among a multitude of factors which can make the experience good or bad. Several elements play key roles in evaluating any arbitration, namely: accuracy, fairness, cost, speed, and award enforceability. An inevitable tension exists among these goals. Decisions reached quickly and cheaply will do few favors if the award gets it wrong on the substantive merits. The prevailing party will find little satisfaction in a correct result that is refused recognition because the arbitrators denied due process to the losing side. A good arbitrator, like good chef, will seek balance and counterpoise. That which is excessive may become not only insignificant, but also counterproductive.

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