Faculty Publications


Precious Resolution: The Use of Intra-Community Arbitration by Jain Diamond Merchants

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This article purports to expand the scholarship about private forms of dispute resolution by focusing on the use of arbitration by Jain diamond merchants, a group whose activities remain largely unexplored in the socio-legal literature. This article is based primarily on qualitative research comprised of numerous interviews with individuals involved - at various levels - in the diamond trade. I also relied in a number of secondary sources and published work on Jain businesspeople, and on my own previous work about the use of arbitration by Venezuelan diamond merchants.

This article explores the procedural preferences of Jain diamantaires, while offering a general discussion about their approach to dispute processing, and its placement in the general landscape of diamond industry arbitration. Following a brief discussion offered in Section II, which highlights the evolution of the global diamond trade from India to Europe and then back again to India. Section III delves into a description of contract making and enforcement practices in connection with diamond transactions, mainly with reference to the legacy of the Hasidic merchants. Section IV, which comprises the core of the article, turns the attention to a discussion about the business ethics of Jain merchants and the influence of their religious principles on their diamond-related activities. This section includes with a description of the procedural preferences of Jain merchants and offers a narrative - highlighted with data obtained from interviews - about the dynamics occurring in the different processes that involve Jain parties, including their voluntary compliance with arbitral decisions. The article ends with a conclusion that summarizes the discussion and places it into the literature on arbitration and private ordering.