Arbitration also has been used in employer-employee disputes, particularly those involving labor unions. Such arbitration may be compelled by the government, as in New Zealand (since 1894), Australia (since 1904), Canada (since 1907), Italy (since 1926), and Great Britain (since World War II). In other cases, it may be by voluntary agreement, as is often the case in the United States, where the government occasionally intervenes in the case of a strike affecting the public welfare (see Taft-Hartley Labor Act) by persuading the parties concerned to accept the decision handed down by the arbitrator. In the United States, as a result of a Supreme Court ruling in 2001, companies can insist that employment-related disputes (such as discrimination suits) go to arbitration rather than to court. Labor arbitration machinery in the United States has been set up at both federal and state levels in the form of mediation and arbitration boards.
See F. Elkouri, How Arbitration Works (1985); M. Bognanno, Labor Arbitration in America (1992).
Arbitration was practiced by the Greek city-states, and in the Middle Ages high ecclesiastical authorities were called upon to settle controversies. With the development of the modern system of nation-states, however, arbitration was less frequently used until the 19th cent. when the settlement by arbitration of the famous Alabama claims case between the United States and Great Britain brought this practice back into general use. Great advances have been made since then, most notably in the establishment of a Permanent Court of Arbitration (the Hague Tribunal) by the Hague Conferences. Functions analogous to arbitration were performed by the Permanent Court of International Justice (see World Court) under the League of Nations and have now been transferred to its successor, the
See J. H. Ralston, International Arbitration from Athens to Locarno (1929); C. M. Bishop, International Arbitral Procedure (1930); K. S. Carlston, The Process of International Arbitration (1946); H. W. Briggs, The Law of Nations (2d ed. 1952); J. L. Brierly, The Law of Nations (6th ed. 1963); A. Cox, Prospects for Peacekeeping (1967); R. Fisher, Improving Compliance with International Law (1981).
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