Congress might not have banned mandatory consumer arbitration altogether in the Dodd- Frank Act, but it dynamited a bunch of obstacles. Section 1028 of the Act requires the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, which has jurisdiction over consumer contracts for the sale of financial products and services, to conduct a study of the use of mandatory pre-dispute arbitration in contracts under its jurisdiction and report back to Congress. The Bureau then has the authority, by rulemaking, to “prohibit or impose conditions or limitations on the use of” mandatory arbitration clauses, consistent with the study, provided that the Bureau “finds that such prohibition or imposition of conditions or limitations is in the public interest and for the protection of consumers.” In addition, Section 1414 of the Act bans pre-dispute arbitration in residential mortgages and home-equity loans without the need for further study or rulemaking. The Act also confers similar authority on the SEC to ban mandatory arbitration in the securities context and bans mandatory arbitration that would waive protections for those who blow the whistle on securities fraud and commodities fraud. For more information, contact Rebekah Kaufman