American Arbitration Association
The American Arbitration Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit organization in the field of alternative dispute resolution, providing services to individuals and organizations who wish to resolve conflicts out of court, and one of several arbitration organizations that administers arbitration proceedings. The AAA also administers mediation through www.AAAMediation.org and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. It is headquartered in New York City, with regional offices in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, East Providence, Rhode Island, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Somerset, New Jersey and Washington, DC.
The International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), established in 1996 by the AAA, administers international arbitration proceedings initiated under the institution's rules. ICDR currently (as of 2018) has offices in New York City, Mexico City, Singapore, and Bahrain.
The AAA was founded in 1926 by the merger of the Arbitration Society of America and the Arbitration Foundation to provide dispute resolution and avoid Civil Court proceedings.
Many contracts include an arbitration clause naming the AAA as the organization that will administer arbitration between the parties. The AAA does not itself arbitrate disputes, but provides administrative support to arbitrations before a single arbitrator or a panel of three arbitrators. The arbitrators are chosen in accordance with the parties' agreement or, if the parties do not agree otherwise, in accordance with the AAA rules. Under its rules, the AAA may appoint an arbitrator in some circumstances, for example, where the parties cannot agree on an arbitrator or a party fails to exercise its right to appoint an arbitrator.
The AAA role in the dispute resolution process is to administer cases, from filing to closing. The AAA provides administrative services in the U.S., as well as abroad through the ICDR. The AAA's and ICDR's administrative services include assisting in the appointment of mediators and arbitrators, setting hearings, conducting cases under the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Arbitration Rules, and providing users with information on dispute resolution options, including settlement through mediation. Ultimately, the AAA aims to move cases through arbitration or mediation in a fair and impartial manner until completion.
Additional AAA services include the design and development of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) systems for corporations, unions, government agencies, law firms, and the courts. The Association also provides elections services as well as education, training, and publications for those seeking an understanding of alternative dispute resolution.
In July 2009, the AAA stopped accepting consumer debt collection cases, after the National Arbitration Forum was forced to do so after questions arose about the fairness of its process.
In April 2013, the New York State Department of Financial Services hired the AAA to host mediation sessions between insurance companies and Hurricane Sandy victims.
The AAA has actively promoted the use of mediation around the world, including through its participation as a co-founder in 2007 and current board member of the Netherlands-based International Mediation Institute.