Most military contractors will no longer be able to enforce mandatory arbitration clauses in their employment contracts under a provision signed into law over the weekend.

The provision is included in the 2009-2010 spending bill for the U.S. Department of Defense, and it touches on an issue that has been a high priority this year for trial lawyers and for consumer groups. They say that clauses mandating the use of arbitration deny employees an impartial hearing in open court, while supporters of arbitration have defended the process as both fair and efficient.