A court may not, then, in assessing the rights of litigants to enforce an arbitration agreement, construe that agreement in a manner different from that in which it otherwise construes nonarbitration agreements under state law. Nor may a court rely on the uniqueness of an agreement to arbitrate as a basis for a state-law holding that enforcement would be unconscionable….
The public policy of protecting children from waiver of their litigation rights, on which the Fourth District decision rests, is a generally applicable contract principle and is not peculiar to arbitration agreements. We have previously held that contract provisions unrelated to arbitration may be ruled unenforceable on public policy grounds….
B. ENFORCEMENT OF ARBITRATION AGREEMENTS IN GENERAL
In Florida as well as under federal law, the use of arbitration agreements is generally favored by the courts…. However, this Court has cautioned that “neither the statutes validating arbitration clauses nor the policy favoring such provisions should be used as a shield to block a party’s access to a judicial forum in every case.”…
Agreements to arbitrate are treated differently from statutes compelling arbitration. The difference arises because the rights of access to courts and trial by jury may be contractually relinquished, subject to defenses to contract enforcement including voidness for violation of the law or public policy, unconscionability, or lack of consideration….
As stated above, the question of whether a minor child or minor child’s estate may be bound by an agreement to arbitrate made by a parent or guardian on the child’s behalf is a question of contract formation-whether a valid agreement to arbitrate exists.