Taking Arbitration Mainstream

What is the best way to get consumers and businesses to agree to arbitrate absent an arbitration clause?

The project objective is to better understand the dynamic around the post-dispute arbitration agreement decision-marking process. This process must be optimized if we want online dispute resolution to be accessible. Meaning it appeals to a large enough segment of the population such that it materially impacts access to justice.

At FairClaims our claimants use the stick of a small claims court filing to convince respondents to agree to arbitrate. And we are experimenting with other methods that make our alternative appealing to both sides.

Culture and incentives will be key here. This project aims to discover the factors that will motivate individuals and business owners to decide it makes sense for them to resolve a dispute rather than leave it hanging. Factors to be explored include –

  • what carrots help move the needle
  • what sticks help move the needle
  • what message helps move the needle
  • whether demographics make a difference
  • which psychographic factors are important

Methodology for the above: surveys, focus group studies and FairClaims data.

The project will also explore long term trends related to the culture of dispute resolution. And attempt to answer how we can reach hearts and minds in order to convince people this is a cultural norm worth incorporating. Examples of trends this project will explore – (1) adding small claims arbitration clauses into agreements and (2) making regulatory changes which make it even easier to use ODR for resolving small claims disputes.

The project will partner with other organizations like the Better Business Bureau to get dispute data we can evaluate alongside our data. And cross-disciplinary experts from psychology, sociology, and/or technology.

Project Leader: Stephen Kane


The descriptions of current and past projects of CodeX non-residential fellows are provided to illustrate the kind of work our non-residential fellows are carrying out. These projects are listed here for informational purposes only and are not endorsed by CodeX, Stanford Law School, or Stanford University.