Helfland on Religion and Arbitration

If you’re not a regular reader of Prawfsblog, you’ve missed out on some excellent guest blogging by Michael Helfland (Pepperdine).  Helfland’s primary interest areas are arbitration and the intersection between law and religion and, not surprisigly, his Prawfs posts of interests focus on those two themes.

In the first post he uses a case out Florida involving the Church of Scientology’s arbitration agreement with members to take us into a broader discussion of how religious tribunals could be subjected to two different standards of review in court proceedings.  (Aside: I love the fact that in the Scientology case the arbitrators had to be in good standing with the church – no potential conflict there).  The second discusses how one tried and true method of challenging an arbitration award is fraud and collusion on the part of the arbitrator, but that such a challenge may not apply in a religious context.  The reason for that is the “religious question” line of cases where,

civil courts cannot adjudicate disputes turning on church policy and administration or on religious doctrine and practice because doing so would require a court to resolve an underlying controversy over religious doctrine or practice. (internal quotes omitted)

The issues from these posts are discussed in more depth in his article Litigating Religion, forthcoming in the BU Law Review.   I have to say that these posts are interesting and make me look forward to reading the article.

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