Rami Alhellu

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD)



First Advisor

Catherine Rogers


Arbitration is a private mechanism that offers people an alternative means of resolving disputes outside of the state courts; thus, it allows for some measure of self-government. This dissertation focuses on "community arbitration" and investigates the background of the "community" concept and why certain communities rely on arbitration. It also examines the legal concepts that affect the extent to which community groups have the right to arbitrate disputes in their own courts. This dissertation discusses when and how the right to arbitrate should be respected, and when that right may legitimately be limited on two community types: religions or cultural communities. As well as investigating these larger issues, this dissertation also considers numerous sub-questions, including: (1) how are communities defined; (2) what rights do such communities members have; (3) what is the relationship between community autonomy and legal pluralism; and (4) to what extent should religious and minority communities be protected through arbitration from potential abuse that may occur during an arbitration proceeding?

People's religious commitments and considerations often oblige them to resolve conflicts according to their own religious laws. Some communities often oblige them to resolve conflicts according to their own religious laws. Some communities attempt to resolve disputes without resorting to official state courts. For example, religious communities - specifically, Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities - in the U.S., Canada and the UK are often obligated to resolve conflicts according to religious laws and/or before religious tribunals.

Certain cultural communities, on the other hand, due to certain social commitments and cultural considerations, are obliged to resolve conflicts according to their own unique ethnic laws. This thesis examines the theme of cultural arbitration; namely, peacemaking methods based on culture. This thesis focuses on the Sulha (reconciliation) as "Bedouin Arbitration," - cultural mechanism that provides for amicable dispute resolution - and considers Bedouin communities in Palestine and Jordan, as well as communities involved in military conflicts or living in war zones, as its case studies. This paper also highlights the legal challenges encountered by Palestine communities operating under the jurisdiction of an arbitration center located in Jerusalem.

Sometimes, the autonomy allows arbitration to come into conflict with official state political objectives. Other challenges may come to light when judicial awards are enforced. Hence, religious commitments and social power may impose a new type of mechanism for the implementation of arbitration awards.

Available for download on Wednesday, June 08, 2022