Secret Courts? The Delaware Court of Chancery Arbitration Experiment


6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

The Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution presents: 

"Secret Courts? The Delaware Court of Chancery Arbitration Experiment"


Thursday, February 7

6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Moot Court Room. Reception to follow in lobby. 

Can sitting judges confidentially arbitrate disputes? In 2009, the Delaware legislature amended its laws to permit judges of the Court of Chancery to do just that. For a specified set of fees, parties could consent to binding arbitration by some of the country's most renowned experts in corporate law. But unlike traditional litigation before Chancery judges, the entire proceeding would remain confidential. While some praised this program as an innovative use of court-sponsored dispute resolution in the nation's corporate capital, others argued that it blurs the line between litigation and arbitration.  

In August 2012, following a challenge from the Delaware Open Government Coalition, the program was declared unconstitutional under the First Amendment's right of qualified public access to court proceedings. The case is now on appeal to the Third Circuit, and is capturing the attention of arbitration and First Amendment specialists alike.

Our panel of experts will discuss the program and appeal -- and what this pathbreaking case could mean for court-annexed dispute resolution more broadly.

Moderator: Paul F. Kirgis, St. John's University School of Law


Thomas E. Carbonneau, Penn State University Dickinson School of Law; Director of the Institute of Arbitration Law and Practice 

Katrina Dewey, CEO and Founder of

David L. Finger, Partner, Finger & Slanina; Lead counsel for the Delaware Open Government Coalition    

Tracey B. Frisch, Staff Attorney at the American Arbitration Association; Adjunct Professor at Cardozo School of La

Hon. Shirley Werner Kornreich, Justice of the New York State Supreme Court (Commercial Division) 

CLE credit: This program offers 2 CLE credits, transitional and non-transitional. 

To register:

Questions: Contact Brian Farkas at