Court Ruling Highlights Need for Justice Alternatives

by Garret Ean
Dec 22 2010

This associated press article written by Lynne Tuohy and published by the Concord Monitor demonstrates the failures of a monopolistic justice system. The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that private agreements reached between disputing parties cannot supersede a dispute resolution as laid out by the court.

Though the issue in this case was a child support agreement, it is likely the court would apply such reasoning to any agreement reached outside of court between disputing parties after the case has been arbitrated.

The Purposes of Arbitration

When two parties have a dispute, the task of the third-party arbiter is to settle the dispute. If the dispute is resolved by the parties themselves, independent of the arbiter, then the arbiter no longer has any role to play. Since New Hampshire courts claim a monopoly on enforceable dispute resolution, they are able to use their dictatorial powers against parties who bring their disputes before them, despite neither party being satisfied with the end result or wishing for their services to continue.

Imagine marketplace competition in dispute resolution. Nobody would voluntarily seek the services of an arbiter who leaves both parties dissatisfied with the end result. For this reason, individuals in civil conflict with others should consider very carefully whether procuring the dispute resolution services of the State will actually satisfy their needs. The mistake of trusting a one-size-fits-all justice system could lead to very expensive consequences for all involved.

“Freedom is the power to say ‘no’.”
-Jean-Marie Teno


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