Saltman/CLE: Between Law and Religion: When Religious Law Meets Arbitration


William S. Boyd School of Law
University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the
Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution

October 15, 2015
Thomas and Mack Moot Court Facility
5:30 - 7:00 pm
1.5 CLE credits

Between Law and Religion:  When Religious Law Meets Arbitration

Webcast - click here

Michael A. Helfand, Pepperdine School of Law

This talk explores the unique status of religious law as a hybrid concept that is at the same time both law and religion.  To do so, the talk considers the following hypothetical case: what would happen if religious arbitrators refused to admit the testimony of women?  Would preventing a female witness from testifying invalidate the arbitrator’s award?  Exploring how current legal doctrine would treat such a case highlights how religious law’s hybrid status insulates religious arbitration awards from judicial review, leaving courts to confirm religious arbitration awards without knowing whether the arbitrators complied with the contractually required procedural safeguards. This outcome—emblematic of the Janus-faced nature of religious law—gives us good reason to reevaluate how U.S. law treats religious law, encouraging us to de-mystify religious law by seeing it more like law and less like religion.  The talk is based on a published paper of the same name, which is published at 90 Chicago-Kent Law Review 141 (2015) available at:  

Professor Helfand, Pepperdine University School of Law. He also serves as the associate director of the Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies at Pepperdine University, is a faculty member at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, and serves as both an arbitrator and consultant for the Beth Din (Rabbinical Court) of America. 

A frequent author and lecturer, Helfand’s work considers how U.S. law treats religious law, custom and practice, focusing contexts such as religious arbitration, religious contracts and religious torts.  His articles have appeared in the Yale Law Journal, the NYU Law Review, and the Duke Law Journal, as well as the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and the National Law Journal. He received his JD from Yale Law School in 2007 and his PhD from Yale University in 2009.


5:30-5:35 p.m. Welcome from Jean Sternlight, Director of the Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution and Michael & Sonja Saltman Professor of Law
5:35-6:40 p.m. Presentation
6:40-6:55 p.m. Question and answer session
6:55-7:00 p.m. Closing remarks

Link to UNLV Alumni Association for membership



October 15, 2015
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
BSL Thomas and Mack Moot Court Facility