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In a commercial landscape clouded by ever increasing litigation, where court dockets are full and the cost of litigation is extensive, there remains a desperate need for a suitable form of alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”). In the United States, arbitration has surfaced as the preferred form of ADR for commercial disputes. Yet, the strength and effectiveness of arbitration rests on the efficacy of this private method of adjudication, and specifically, the ability to bind parties to arbitral awards. In such a climate, arbitrators are granted great powers and entrusted to make sound professional judgments when rendering decisions. Recently, however, a circuit split has arisen regarding the extent of an arbitrators’ power to compel class arbitration. This circuit court split threatens to destabilize the nature and effectiveness of American arbitration. Courts must therefore adopt a clear, effective and consistent approach regarding arbitrators’ powers to ensure that the American arbitration system continues to thrive.

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